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vlAR 27 1990 

Frances Loeb Library 
Graduate School of Design 


/ / 


This series of monographs has been planned to supply visitors 
to the great English Cathedrals with accurate -and well illus- 
trated guide books at a popular price. The aim of each writer 
has been to produce a work compiled with sufficient knowledge 
and scholarship to be of value to the student of archaeology 
and history, and yet not too technical in language for the use 
of an ordinary visitor or tourist. 

To specify all the authorities which have been made use of 
in each case would be difficult and tedious in this place. But 
amongst the general sources of information which have been 
almost invariably found useful are :— firstly, the great county 
histories, the value of which, especially in questions of gene- 
alogy and local records, is generally recognised; secondly, 
the numerous papers by experts which appear from time to 
time in the transactions of the antiquarian and archaeological 
societies ; thirdly, the important documents made accessible in 
the series issued by the Master of the Rolls ; fourthly, the well- 
known works of Britton and Willis on the English Cathedrals ; 
and lastly, the very excellent series of Handbooks to the 
Cathedrals, originated by the late Mr. John Murray, to which 
the reader may in most cases be referred for fuller detail, 
especially in reference to the histories of the respective sees. 


Editors of the Series, 


For one who has learnt the best of what he knows within 
Christ Church walls it has been very pleasant to gather these 
notes of the Cathedral's history and architecture. Moreover, I 
am less remorseful than I might be at adding to the world's 
overcrowded library, because certain recent discoveries in the 
Cathedral have thrown the best of the old books out of date, 
and made it necessary for some one to weave together the 
older and the later knowledge. My indebtedness, therefore, is 
not only to former labourers in this field, but especially to the 
author of these discoveries, Mr J. Park Harrison, who roused 
my enthusiasm in the old days, and now has most generously 
helped me with his advice, and allowed me to incorporate in 
these chapters the substance of his own papers. To these 
pamphlets I would refer any who wish to go to the fountain- 
head for the account of the investigations, and especially I 
may mention two : " The Pre-Norman Date of the Choir and 
some of the Stone-work of Oxford Cathedral,*' and the 
"Account of the Discovery of the Remains of three Apses 
at Oxford Cathedral" (Oxford: Frowde, 24 and 23 pp.). I 
must also express my thanks for the kindness and help of 
Professor York Powell, and of Mr W. Francis, the senior 
verger, and to Messrs Carl Norman & Co. of Tunbridge 
Wells, Mr W. Giles, Mr Park Harrison, and Mr R. Phen^ 
Spiers, F.R.I.B.A., for the loan of and permission to repro- 
duce various drawings and photographs. 




History of the Cathedral 3 

Description of the Exterior 27 

Spire and Tower 28 

On the North Side . . 32 

The Saxon Foundations 33 

Cloister 37 

Chapter House 39 

Bell Tower 43 

Tom Tower 44 

College Buildings 47 

Description of the Interior 49 

Nave 51 

Monuments of the Nave -57 

Organ 58 

Pulpit 58 

Tower 58 

Aisles of Nave and Transepts .... . . 62 

Glass in Aisles 63 

North Transept 65 

Glass in Transepts 67 

South Transept 67 

St. Lucy's Chapel 70 

Monuments of Transept and Chapel 71 

Choir 72 

East End 78 

Reredos 79 

High Altar 80 

South Choir Aisle 81 

Monuments 81 

North Choir Aisle 83 

Shrine of St. Frideswide 84 

Lady Chapel 88 

" Watching Chamber " 89 

Monuments in Lady Chapel 91 

Glass in the Aisles 97 

Latin Chapel 102 

Glass in L^tin Chapel 105 

History of the Foundation 109 

St. Frideswide 109 

The Priory 114 

College and Cathedral 118 

The Diocese of Oxford 126 

Oseney 126 

List of the Bishops 128 



Christ Church from the East Frontispiece 

Arms of the See' TiiU 

The Roof of the Nave 2 

The Cathedral at the End of the Seventeenth Century ... 5 

Christ Church from the Canon's Garden, 1857 .... 10 

Christ Church in the Eighteenth Century 11 

The Tower and Spire 29 

Early Saxon Arches 33 

Plan of recently excavated Saxon Arches 34 

Conjectural Plan of Early Saxon Church 35 

Doorway of Chapter- House 39 

Corbel in Chapter-House 40 

Boss in Chapter-House 41 

Choir, from the Old Cemetery 42 

Tom Tower 44 

Western Entrance and Bell Tower 45 

Plan 52 

Early English Moulding 54 

Nave and Choir, looking East 55 

Pulpit . 58 

Choir and Nave, looking West 59 

From the North Transept 66 

Clerestory Window in the South Transept 68 

Third Capital of the Choir 72 

Capitals of the Choir 73 

Tracery of the Roof 77 

Lady Montacute's Tomb 91 

Ornament from a Tomb 95 

The "St. Cecilia" Window 99 

Window in the Latin Chapel 103 

Section of the Interior before the Restorations 107 

The Exterior in 1857 113 

The Interior before the Restorations 123 

Arms of the College T . . 136 

(from a drawing by R. PHKN^ syie^s, P.R.I.B.A.) 




The " Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford " has had a some- 
what unfortunate history. Built for the small monastery of 
St. Frideswide, with no thought of any ampler destination, it 
was in the sixteenth century raised to' the rank of a cathedral, 
just after it had been reduced in size by the destruction of 
half the nave, and sunk out of sight among a mass of college 
buildings. Nor was this all the indignity it suffered; for it 
had also to do duty as the chapel of the new academic foun- 
dation which Wolsey established, and very soon the cathedral 
was forgotten in the college chapel. So neglected was it that 
Britton wrote at the beginning of the present century — " It is 
very common for visitors, and even those of rather refined and 
critical minds, to leave Oxford without examining the building 
now under notice." A century earlier Browne Willis had been 
content to make the astounding observation : " Tis truly no 
elegant structure." 

The first' church on this site was that built by St. Frideswide, 
" The Lady," as she was afterwards called in Oxford, and her 
father Didan, about the year 727. The story of this saint, which 
no visitor to her church should omit to read, will be found in 
our chapter on the History of the Foundation. 

A contemporary of the Venerable Bede, she was one of those 
noble and devoted souls who (as Dr. Jessopp reminds us) made 
Anglo-Saxon monasticism the brightest spot in the history of 


English community-life. The monks and nuns of that period 
were in fact missionaries, who spread tho Christian faith among 
the half-civilised pagani, or country-folR ; and, by the wise 
method of planting themselves in remote districts, and quietly 
living the gospel they preached, touched the hearts, and won 
the souls, of their rough neighbours. Thus, without the use 
of force, without even the exercise of royal authority, says Pro- 
fessor Freeman, the whole of England had, by the time of the 
birth of St. Frideswide (c. 700), accepted the Christian faith. 
But the religion of the country districts must have still been 
of a very untutored description ; and St. Frideswide was one of 
those who spread in the South, just at the time when Mercia 
was the paramount power in England, the finer civilisation 
which had already established itself in the North, and produced 
kings like Edwin, saints like Aidan, and poets like Caedmon. 
Whatever may be the authority of the legends which gathered 
about her name, it is certain that she gave up her high estate, 
" devoted herself and all her worldly goods to the service of 
Christ and her poor brethren," refused the offer of a royal 
marriage, escaped the persecutions of her suitor, " and finally 
died in the odour of sanctity, blessed by the poor and ignorant 
people to whom she had devoted her troubled life." 

Of the place wliere she established the little church, part of 
which can still be seen in the walls of the cathedral. Dr. Liddell^ 
the late Dean, thus writes : — 

"Meadows unbroken by human habitations or human 
cultivation, a river wandering through them as it Usted, unbarred 
by locks, or weirs, or mills, the hills down to their margin 
clothed in primeval forest. The bank of gravel which still 
slopes down to what we call Christ Church Meadow, offered a 
dry and pleasant site ; the river supplied fish for the inmates 
of the new convent ; the Trill-mill stream bears testimony by 
its name to the fact that its water was in early times, perhaps 
the earliest, used to turn the wheel which ground their corn ; 
the neighbouring forests supplied abundant wood for fuel, as 
well as game for food, and acorns for the swine ; the rich 
meadows of the valley furnished pasture to the flocks and herds. 
In those days, no doubt, the existence of such a peaceful com- 
munity exercised a humanising and softening influence over 
the rude thanes and their clansmen and serfs, who had as yet 
perhaps hardly heard the name of Christ." 










Our next glimpse of the church is a terrible one. Despairing 
of beating back the Danes, Ethelred the Unready gave the mad 
and treacherous order for the Massacre of St. Brice's Day, 
I GO 2. " Urged by secret orders from the king," says Mr. J. R. 
Green, " the West Saxons rose on St. Brice's Day, and pitilessly 
massacred the Danes scattered defencelessly among them. 
The tower of St. Frideswide, in which those of Oxford had 
taken refuge, was burnt with them to the ground." This 
account is touched up by Mr. Andrew Lang with a little local 
colour : — " We are tempted to think of a low grey twilight 
above that wet land suddenly lit up with fire ; of the tall towers 
of St. Frideswyde's Minster flaring like a torch across the night ; 
of poplars waving in the same wind that drives the vapour and 
smoke of the holy place down on the Danes who have taken 
refuge there, and there stand at bay against the English and 
the people of the town." A finishing touch comes from the old 
chronicler, William of Malmesbury : — " Into the tower of St. 
Frideswyde they were driven, and as men could not drive 
them thence, the tower was fired, and they perished in the 

' This closes the first era in the history of the church : the old 
ecclesiola of Didan and his daughter was gutted by the fire, and 
its roofs and furniture destroyed. Indeed, until lately it was 
held that the whole building was of wood, and perished there- 
fore with the tower and roof, no vestige of it remaining for 
later times. But the recent investigations of Mr. J. Park 
Harrison, an archaeologist of remarkable devotion and insight, 
have proved that the east wall of the eighth century church, 
with two of its primitive arches, still remains, a venerable 
relic of times past, as part of the wall of the cathedral ; while the 
foundations of the three apses, into which the three low arches 
once led, have been discovered in the garden to the north-east of 
the church (see pp. 33, 34). So did Anthony a Wood, when in 
the seventeenth century he wrote of " the antientist buildings " 
as " on the east and north side of the church," speak more 
truth than even he himself was aware. 

After the slaughter of St. Brice's Day, King Ethelred made a 
vow that he would rebuild St. Frideswide's church. And well 
did he keep it ; for in 1004 he built the splendid church which 
forms the main part of the cathedral as we know it to-day, 
sparing the more sacred part of the rude old building, it may 


be, because of the veneration in which everything connected 
with St. Frideswide was held. His charter contains the follow- 
ing sentence : — 

"In the year of our Lord 1004, in the 2nd indiction, and in 
the 25th year of my reign, according to the disposal of God's 
providence, I Ethelred ruling over the whole of Albion, have 
with liberty of charters by royal authority and for the love of 
the Almighty, established a certain monastery situated in the 
city which is called Oxoneford, where the body of St Frides- 
wide reposes." 

And here another question of the deepest architectural 
interest occurs. This church of Ethelred's was of a size and 
magnificence until lately considered not to have been attainable 
in England till many years after the Conquest. It was therefore 
taken for granted that the church was wholly rebuilt in the 
years 11 60-1 180, and that Ethelred's work was as entirely lost 
as Didan's was supposed to be. Dr. James Ingram, President 
of Trinity, had, it is true, written in the thirties to prove that 
the cathedral was Saxon, but, great authority as he was, he 
wrote at a time when architectural history was in its infancy ; 
and at the restoration of 1869, Sir Gilbert Scott was content to 
write — " Dr. Ingram evinces great anxiety to prove that traces 
of his (Ethelred's) work still exist, but I need hardly say there 
^s not a shadow of foundation for such a supposition." How- 
ever, a greater authority than either of the preceding showed 
that the tide of knowledge was turning against the accepted 
view. Professor Freeman in his " History of Architecture " 
wrote that the cathedral might be " in the main portions of the 
fabric a monument of the later days of Saxon architecture," 
and that "the evidence between the conflicting statements 
which would assign it, some to the days of Ethelred II., others 
to those of Henry I., seems very evenly balanced;" in the 
former case, he said, " we have a complete minster of compara- 
tively small size, but of the fullest cathedral type, belonging to 
the early part of the eleventh century." Mr. J. H. Parker, him- 
self, who had been the chief authority for the theory that the 
Saxon architects built almost entirely in wood, at length changed 
his mind ; and even went so far as to say, in the fourth edition 
of his " A. B. C. of Gothic Architecture," that " the Saxons, at 
the date of the conquest, appear to have been more advanced 
in the fine arts, such as sculpture, than the Normans," that 


** their work was more highly finished, had more ornament," 
and that their masonry was more finely jointed than that of the 

Following up these admissions, Mr. Park Harrison carried on 
the most thorough investigations, examining almost every stone 
in the building, investigating Saxon MSS., and travelling over 
England and Normandy for the purposes of comparison. As 
a result he succeeded in convincing Professor Freeman, Pro- 
fessor Westwood, and other experts in Anglo-Saxon archaeo- 
logy, that Ethelred's church was still in the main extant ; and 
at this moment his theory is very generally accepted. Without 
committing ourselves irrevocably to all Mr. Park Harrison's con- 
clusions, some of which are naturally not so well established as 
others, we may, in the majority of cases, accept them, at least 
provisionally. Many allusions to them will occur in this book ; 
and here, therefore, it is well to say that, while we think there 
is little likelihood of the whole theory being destroyed, we 
cannot venture to predict how much of it may be damaged or 
maintained by future research. 

In this place the following summary of the evidence will 
suffice : — 

1. There is no document or anything tending to show that 
the original fabric, as restored and enlarged by Ethelred, was 
ever rebuilt on a new plan. 

2. Several of the choir capitals differ essentially in their 
ornamentation from any others in the cathedral ; but resemble 
very closely the ornamental work in illuminated MSS. of 
Ethelred's time. They should consequently belong to the 
church as enlarged by him in 1004 (p. 72). 

3. The junction of the eleventh century, or Ethelred's work 
with the later work, is clearly visible at the north and south- 
west comers of the choir; and the abaci, though resembling 
each other, are of different thickness. The ashlar work is dif- 
ferent, and the courses are not continuous (p. 61). 

4. The manner in which the Norman vaulting shafts are 
inserted in the north choir aisle implies that vaulting was not 
contemplated in the original plan of the church, and that the aisle 
was built at a date when vaulting ribs were not in use (p. 33). 

5. The introduction of attached shafts in the tower piers 
shows that additions were made, about 1160, to earlier work 
with roll mouldings corresponding with those of the choir : 



similar proofs of alteration are to be seen in the imposts of 
the tower and transept arches, which have been cut through to 
admit late Norman capitals (p. 58). 

6. There is also good evidence that the Norman Presbytery- 
is not part of the original choir, or the earliest part of the 
church, as was assumed, but probably stands on the site of an 
apse which belonged to Ethelred's building (p. 79). 

7. The worn condition of the choir capitals can only be 


accounted for by the state of disrepair into which the church 
had fallen by the middle of the twelfth century (p. 74). 

The reason is not far to seek for the unusual magnificence 
of Ethelred's plans. His brother-in-law was Richard II., 
Duke of Normandy, whose fame as an art-patron and church- 
builder was spread so far that, according to the Chronicles of 








Fontenelle, " bishops and clergy, abbots and monks," travelled 
from all parts, from Greece and Armenia, to visit him, and 
William of Jumifeges speaks of him as producing a kind of 
renaissance in his country. It so happens that one bay re- 
mains in the abbey church of Fecamp of the original building 
commenced by Duke Richard in looi, just before Ethelred 
began his operations; and the capitals in this bay are orna- 
mented with the same curious twining foliage that is found 
in the choir at Oxford. It is more than likely, then, that 
the Saxon king sought assistance from the cultured court of 
Richard-le-bon ; the Queen Emma may well have been anxious 
to have the church rebuilt on a scale that would accord with 
the monastic buildings of her own land ; and so important was 
the work considered, that King Ethelred (as we learn from his 
charter) had contributions given him for carrying it on by his 
whole people. 

But more troubles were to follow, for Etheb-ed had yet to pay 
the penalty for the massacre of St. Brice's Day, and his " long 
reign of utter misgovernment '* was interrupted in 1013, when 
the heathen Viking Swe)m drove him out of his kingdom to 
take refuge in Richard's court in Normandy. The exile of the 
king, and the triumph of the Danes, who besieged and took 
Oxford in the same year, must have interrupted the work there 
for a time ; and a remarkable break of joint between the masonry 
of the choir and the south transept bears silent witness to the 
dislocation of the Anglo-Saxon rule (p. 61). When Sweyn died 
in 1 014, Ethelred returned, and for three years, with the help 
of his noble son Edmund Ironside, held Canute in check. At 
this, time the work at St. Frideswide's was probably resumed, 
the king being doubtless anxious to complete the fulfilment of 
his vow at a time when he sorely needed the divine assistance ; 
and a certain difference in the character of the capitals and 
foliage in the transepts points to their having been built at this 
time, for they bear traces of oriental influence similar to that in 
the church aUBemay which Duke Richard was building in the 
year when Ethelred was with him in exile, and the eastern 
monks were flocking to his court in Normandy. But it 
is probable that, what with the strain of the terrible war, and 
the constant drain of the Danegelt, the work was never finished 
according to Ethelred's complete design, for he died in 10 16, 
and his son Edmund Ironside only reigned for seven months. 


Nor have we any record that anything further was done under 
Canute or Edward the Confessor. Though it is not at all 
improbable that Canute continued the work, for we know that 
he restored many monasteries which had been injured or 
destroyed by his father, being very fond of the monks ; and 
that the Witenagemot met several times at Oxford during his 
reign. His marriage to Ethelred's widow Emma, also, placed 
him in the same relationship to the Norman court as Ethelred 
himself. The church must have been in use during this time ; 
for we read that in the reign of Edward the Confessor troubles 
arose owing to the substitution- of Regulars for the Secular 
Canons. Under King Harold the Seculars were restored, and, 
says Anthony Wood, "It" was not long after this but that, 
whether by the negligence of the Seculars or the continual! 
•disturbance of the expelled Regulars, it was almost utterly 
forsaken and relinqueshed, and the more especially because of 
that troublesome warre betweene King Harold and William the 
Conqueror, — a few persons all that while only remaining in it." 
In this ruinous state it proved a kind of white elephant that no 
one cared to possess ; given first to Abingdon Abbey, and then 
to Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, it was at last handed over to 
Henry I., who made Guimond his chaplain Prior. 

Although the whole church has been sometimes attributed 
to Prior Guimond, it is probable that he was too much taken 
up with restoring order to devote himself to architecture. 
And, as there is no suggestion in history that Ethelred*s church 
was destroyed, so there is no mention of any building by 
Guimond. William of Malmesbury, his contemporary, praises 
his piety and learning (excelkntis literatures et non aspernanda 
reltgionis\ but is totally silent about architectural talents. 
Besides, the establishment was at that time too impoverished 
for anything of the kind, many of the lands and revenues 
having been alienated, as we learn from the Domesday Book. 
If Guimond built at all, he would have had enough to do, we 
may imagine, in adapting the tumble-down monastic buildings 
for their occupation by canons regular. Sir G. G. Scott attri- 
butes the Norman doorway into the chapter-house to him; 
and he may have begun the restoration by putting a roof on 
the old church ; for the weathered condition of some of the 
choir capitals bears out the historians who tell us that in the 
eleventh century the place was become ruinous. 


Robert of Cricklade, called Canutus, another excellent man, 
was next prior. He ruled from 1141 to 11 80. There was a 
copy of one of his works, says Dr. Ingram, in the library of 
Balliol College in Leland's time. In 1158 Cricklade obtained 
a confirmation of the privileges of the priory from Pope Hadrian 
IV. (Nicholas Brakespear, the English pope) who wore the 
tiara from 11 54 to 11 59. It was probably at this time that the 
restoration of Ethelred's church was begun, for the monks 
would almost certainly not have undertaken such extensive 
works until their property was secured them. 

Robert ^ Cricklade did not build a new church, but it was 
probably he who restored Ethelred's church on the old plan, 
rebuilding those portions of the walls that required it, and 
inserting most of the later Norman work, especially the clere- 
story and presbytery. Much of the earlier work appears to have 
been imitated at this time, as is known to have been the case 
elsewhere when enlarging or rebuilding a church ; and some of 
the carved work was used again. Cricklade appears, from archi- 
tectural evidence, to have left most of the old pillars, but he 
rebuilt two of those in the nave, and reduced the girth of the 

The restoration must have been pretty well finished by ; 180, 
for in that year the relics of St. Frideswide were translated 
** from an obscure to a more noted place in the church," by the 
new prior Phillip, who himself wrote a book, " De Miraculis S, 
J^rideswydceJ^ The " obscure " place was doubtless the southern- 
most of the three early Saxon apses, recently discovered out- 
side the east wall of the north choir aisle (see p. 37). So 
important a ceremony could not have taken place till the church 
was fit for the great company that assembled there; for the 
translation was regarded as an event of national interest, — King 
Henry II. possibly, and the Archbishop of Canterbury cer- 
tainly, being present, with many other prelates and nobles. 
This occasion may have also been the inauguration of Oxford 
University, since seven years afterwards we come upon the first 
mention of regular students. 

Here is Wood's account of this the first translation : — 

"After they were meet, and injoyned fasting and prayers 
were past, as also those ceremonies that are used at such times 
was with all decency performed, then those bishops that were 
appointed, accompanied with Alexio, the pope's legat for 


Scotland, went to the place where she was buried, and opening 
the sepulchre, took out with great devotion the remainder of 
her body that was left after it had rested there 480 yeares, and 
with all the sweet odours and spices imaginable to the great 
rejoycing of the multitude then present mingled them amongst 
her bones and laid them up in a rich gilt coffer made and 
consecrated for that purpose, and placed it on the north side of 
the quire, somewhat distant from the ground, and inclosed it 
with a partition from the sight hereafter of the vulgar." 

The fame of her miracles spread over all England, and 
multitudes came to be healed, many of whom went >iway whole 
and rejoicing. 

But the troubles of the Priory were not yet over. During the 
priorate of Phillip in 1 190, a great fire broke out in Oidford, 
which destroyed a large part of the city. St. Frideswide's did 
not escape, and, though the church itself does not seem to have 
suffered materially, it is probable that the monastic buildings 
were much injured, the chapter-house and cloisters among 
them ; for the old Norman doorway has, through all the changes 
of seven centuries, borne the red marks of the fire, and bears 
them as unmistakably to-day. 

This mishap did not mark an era in the architectiu-e of the 
church ; for nothing can with certainty be pointed to as the 
work of the last decade of the twelfth century ; nor indeed do 
we find that any important work was undertaken till, well into 
the thirteenth century, the spire was added. The monks seem 
to have patched up the ruined chapter-house as best they could, 
for it was not till about the middle of the thirteenth century 
that the present beautiful room was built. About this time the 
second bay of what is now the Latin Chapel was also added. 

It seems certain now that the Lady Chapel, though it was 
undoubtedly vaulted, and its pillars cut into Early English 
shafts, was not built for the first time at this period. Part of 
the wall between it and the Latin Chapel remains in all its 
primitive roughness, while there is no sign of a wall between it 
and the north choir aisle. Its east wall is even older, for it 
contains one of the eighth century arches already alluded to. 

In 1289, Robert de Ewelme being prior, the relics of St. 
Frideswide were again translated. " The old coffer," says the 
Oseney Chronicle, "of St. Fritheswyda was translated, and 
placed in a new and more precious one in the same church, and 


near the place where the old one had stood." Its marble base 
has recently been discovered, and replaced in what seems to 
have been its old position. The beautiful northernmost chapel, 
called the Latin Chapel, was added in the fourteenth century, 
the single Early English bay being incorporated, and the north 
wall of the Lady Chapel further opened out, for this purpose. 
Some of the Norman windows were also altered to Decorated. 
The Norman windows at the east end were replaced by a large 
five-light window, which was spoilt in the seventeenth century, 
and ultimately removed by Sir Gilbert Scott. Decorated 
windows of three lights were also placed at the east ends of the 
choir aisles, and a four-light window in the Lady Chapel. 
These all went in the seventeenth century, but the beautiful 
window in St Lucy's Chapel survived. All the fourteenth 
century work belongs to a rather late division of the Decorated 

Towards the end of the fifteenth century the Perpendicular 
style began to spread over the church. Besides the windows 
of the nave and north transept aisles, the clerestory of the choir 
was remodelled to carry the elaborate vaulting, which was pro- 
bably also added in this century, and not by Wolsey as has 
been supposed, though the work may have been completed in 
his time. The similarity of the vaulting to that of the Divinity 
School in Oxford enables us to fix the date pretty accurately 
at 1480. 

Another characteristic feature of the church was made at 
this time, to wit, the fine chantrey tomb, called the Watching 
Chamber, but very probably the third and last " shrine " of the 
patron saint The cloisters were also reconstructed, and, in 
order to make room for their eastern side, the western aisle of 
the south transept was destroyed. 

We are able to fix the date of the great north window of the 
north transept, and of the commencement of vaulting in its 
northern bay, because they were paid for out of a bequest of a 
monk, James Zouch, who died in 1503, and is buried under 
the window. One may conjecture that the whole of the church 
would have been vaulted in a style similar to that of the choir, 
if the dissolution of the priory had not come, and left this one 
bay as a pathetic little protest against the sweeping reconstruc- 
tions of Cardinal Wolsey. 

Indeed Wolsey, who in 1524 created Christ Church as a 



college, did nothing but harm to Christ Church as a church. 
It used to be thought that he had thrown the vault over the 
choir, and even that he had built the palpably early English 
spire! — an idea which throws a curious light upon the 
architectural knowledge of our grandfathers. But, alas for 
his reputation, the only work connected with the church that 
can with certainty be attributed to him is the destruction of one 
half of the nave. For, in order to build the great quadrangle 
now known as " Tom Quad," he demolished its three western 
bays, and was apparently only prevented from carting away the 
whole church by his sudden fall from the royal favour in 1529. 
His scheme for " Cardinal College," as Christ Church was at 
first called, was one of extreme magnificence ; and he began — 
much to the amusement of Oxford — with the splendid kitchen, 
still in daily use. Tom Quad gives one some idea of the 
scale on which he formed his plans : it, however, has never been 
properly finished, as it is too large and too much inhabited to 
be fit to receive the cloister for which it was designed. The 
real cloisters are of much more modest dimensions. Wolsey 
destroyed one side of them in order to build the college Hall. 

In justice, however, to Wolsey it must be stated that he 
commenced to build a new chapel along the north side of Tom 
Quad, which, judging by the foundations that some draining 
operations in the canon's gardens have recently disclosed, 
would have rivalled the chapel of King's College, Cambridge, in 
size, and have been about 100 feet longer than the actual length 
of the cathedral. To this the Aubrey MSS. (written about 
1670) refer: — **Ye foundations of that famous begun-Chapel 
or Cathedral of Cardinal Wolsey which went towards the blue 
Boare in Oxford and pulled down by Dean Fell about 1671." 
Aubrey also mentions that the height of the walls of this 
chapel was seven feet at the time of Wolsey's disgrace. The 
west end ran in a line with the front of the octagonal turrets 
in St. Aldate's Street, and the walls reached nearly to FelFs 
passage into Peckwater. 

To the sixteenth century belong also the flat wooden roofs of 
the nave and transepts, and perhaps the concealment of the 
lantern story of the tower. 

The Reformation, apart from the usual destruction of altars, 
furniture, plate, and ornamental work generally, is chiefly 
remembered in the history of the church by the demolition of 


St. Frideswide's shrine. Anthony a Wood says of the third 
shrine that, " being adored till the dissolution of the religious 
houses, it was then, 30 Henry VIII. [a.d. 1538], amongst others, 
taken down, and ail the offerings conveyed into the King's 
Treasury." We give an account of the curious incidents con- 
nected with the demolition in our description of the shrine 

An inventory taken in the last year of Henry VIII.'s reign is 
interesting for the glimpse it gives us of the rich ornaments 
which even then survived, and must have made so vast a 
difference in the appearance of the church. They were con- 
fiscated, no doubt, as being " monuments tending to idolatrie 
and popish or devill's service, crosses, censars, and such lyke 
fylthie stuffe," to quote the curious phrases used by Bishop 
Home of the plate of Trinity College. 

There were eight altars in the aisles and body of the church, 
in addition to the high altar. The furniture then remaining of 
the high altar and choir was catalogued (only that the spelling 
was obscurer) as follows : — " Upon the high altar a here-cloth, 
40s. Item^ two altar-cloths, one of olde diaper, and the other of 
fine linen cloth. Henty a mass-book and a desk. Item^ a great 
sacring bell. Item^ 4 high latten candlesticks. Item, a canopy 
with a pix of copper. Iteniy 4 desks with two cloths of old silk. 
Itetn^ a pair of organs, with a turned chain to the same. Item^ 
2 forms. Item, a canopy over the Dean's head of old silk. Item, 
15 antiphoners and 9 grayells." After some more books 
comes : — " Item, a foot-cloth for the high altar of old tapestry." 
All the hangings of the side altars are enumerated, besides their 
vestments, candlesticks, etc Thus the south choir aisle had " 4 
hangings for above and beneath the altar, whereof two of white 
satin Bruges, and the other two of yellow and red," and two 
altar-cloths ; St. Lucy's Chapel had " two altar-cloths of old 
diaper, two hangings for the altar for above and beneath, the 
one of old needle-work, and the other of buckram " ; the four 
altars on the north of the choir were hung with "dornaxe," 
diaper, yellow and white baundkin. 

The description of some of the fourteen copes sounds very 
beautiful, for instance : — " 2 copes of red silk, woven with sun- 
beams of gold ; " " one cope of blue silk, woven with flower de 
luce, roses, and crowns of gold, and a whole suit to the same." 
There were also copes of purple and red, branched with gold. 


of red and white flowers, bordered with clouds, of red and 
green, of velvet and baundkin, and chamlet ; and many suits 
of vestments besides ; and tunicles, albs, and amices for the 

The inventory also contains, among other items, heavy silver 
bowls and other vessels belonging to the " house plate," and 
the " church plate," which we here give in the original spelling : 
— " A pixe of the ymage of God, gilte, weing 33 oz. If*^- a 
highe standing pixe w^^ a cover gilte, weing 23 oz. dim- *^ 
It^' a crosse w'** Mary and John and a fote to the same gilte, 
weing 114 oz. //'«• a ship [incense-boat] and a spone gilte, 
weing 12 oz. dim. IP^- two bassings parcell gilte, weing 92 
oz. It^' a halliwater [holy water] bokett, and a sprinkell, 
whitt syluer, weing 33 oz., 2 greatt sensors, and a litle sensor, 
whit syluer, weing 170 oz. //*«• two crowetts [cruets] of whit 
syluer, weing 8 oz. It**^- a little paxe gilte, weing 3 oz. ; 4 
chalesses, gilte, w'^ patentts, weing 95 oz. It^- 3 chalesses 
w'*» patentt, whit syluer, weing 50 oz. It***- a litle cros, parcell 
gilte, weing 51 oz. //^- a crismatory gilte, not weighted- 
//'«. 2 gospells, plated w*** syluer of thonesyde [the one side], 
not weighted. It***- two maces for the preuelege, plated w** 
syluer vppon yeron [iron], not weighted. //'«• two virge 
roddes, plated w*^^ syluer vppon yeron, not weighted ; 4 rectors 
staves, the haadds of syluer wherof two gilte, not weighted. 
//'*• two stavis for the crosse, plated with syluer, not weighted. "^ 

When, in 1 546, St. Frideswide's became the cathedral church 
of the four year old diocese of Oxford, the momentous change 
in its character left no mark upon its architecture. The great 
alterations in the fabric and fittings had either happened already 
or were yet to come. 

During the deanery of Brian Duppa in 1630, the unhappy 
church suffered a sweeping restoration, which well-nigh destroyed 
its ecclesiastical character altogether. As Dean Duppa was a 
cultured man himself, and wrote a life of Michael Angelo, his 
work was all the i^ore disastrous, — a mere Philistine would have 
probably been content to let well alone. To begin with, he, 
*' being minded to adorn it,^^ says Wood, " did first take down 
all the old stalls in the choir, and in their places put up those 
that now are," those great ugly pews, that is, which Dean 
Liddell removed. Then, in laying down his new pavement, he 
removed many of the old monuments, " having most of them,"" 


continues the old antiquary, " Saxon inscriptions on them ; 
which being looked upon by the dean and canons as old super- 
fluous stuff, and unhandsome to be mixed with their new pave- 
ment, they did cause them to be thrown out of the church, as 
also those out of the cloister." The remaining monuments he 
moved to the aisles, having, with two exceptions, " duly deprived 
them of their brasses." Thus was a priceless record of the 
priory's history lost to us. Most of his work has during this 
century been undone ; but one memorial of him remains, a 
valuable historical landmark, and full of the characteristics of 
its age — the Jonah window at the west of the north aisle of the 

In order that the windows of the aisles might be " beautified 
with glass, admirably well performed by the exquisite hand of 
Abrahain Ling, a Dutchman, an. 1634," Brian Duppa and his 
chapter altered the whilom Perpendicular windows, sawing 
away " the fine architecture or crustation of those windows," 
and changing them from three lights with tracery to two plain 
lights, the author of the " Anatomy of Melancholy " being the 
donor of part of the new glass. The priceless old glass, which 
had been set up by ancient priors of St. Frideswide's, and con- 
tained pictures of the life of " The Lady," besides the arms 
of many benefactors, was ruthlessly sacrificed. This act of 
vandalism has led to still more unfortunate reprisals in our 
own time ; for Van Ling's old glass, which had great merits, 
was taken away at the last restoration, and replaced by some 
entirely uninteresting modern stuff (to say the least of it), while 
the tracery was remade into a respectable nineteenth century 
parody of the original Perpendicular. 

The amiable and terrible Duppa also ruined the Decorated 
windows of three lights which terminated the aisles of the choir 
by converting them into his favourite two-light windows ; and 
the beautiful four-light window of the Lady Chapel was simi- 
larly treated. The great north transept window was likewise 
impoverished in its tracery ; and at the end of the seventeenth 
century the great east window was reduced from five to three 
lights by the same curious and unaccountable perversion of 
taste. One more memorial of Dean Duppa defaced the 
cathedral down to our time. This was the strange arrangement 
of stone screens by which the eastern chapels were separated 
from the transepts, and the most romantic feature of the 


church destroyed. They were particularly offensive, as they 
finished in a half-circle turned upwards, so that, with the 
Norman arch above, a complete circle was formed. However, 
the fine pulpit and organ-screen must be set down to the credit 
of this period. 

Dean Duppa's successors signalised themselves, as far as the 
cathedral is concerned, only by the erection of monuments, 
some gruesome, and all heavy. Their work for the college was 
more considerable, and we shall enumerate it in our chapter on 
the Exterior. 

A great deal of mischief was done to the painted glass during 
the Civil War, many of the windows being destroyed, and not 
one left quite perfect ; but otherwise the church escaped pretty 
well. Indeed, in this orderly country a great deal more damage 
has been done by lawful authority than by popular riots. 

Up till Dean LiddelFs time the cathedral was in as bad a 
state as most of the other cathedrals of England. A writer in 
the " Ecclesiologist " for. February 1847 ^^^s bewails its then 
condition : — 

" We now come to the present estate of the cathedral, which 
is more deplorable than can be imagined. It is really 
wonderful that the cathedral of an English diocese, and the 
chapel of one of our greatest colleges, should remain in a 
condition which would disgrace the meanest hamlet. In the 
first place, it will hardly be credited by those whose eyes have 
not witnessed the sacrilege, that a portion of the church is 
actually desecrated. In so vast a college the hire of a single 
room cannot be dispensed with, but the House of God must be 
defiled ; a bay of the south transept and one of the adjoining 
chapels are blocked off to form a residence for the verger. On 
this subject we can hardly trust ourselves to speak. 

" The fittings up of the choir are of the most wretched and 
irreverent description. The stalls are of seventeenth century 
work, and by no means a favourable specimen : those of the 
dean and canons are marked by canopies. The episcopal 
throne is meanness itself, and can hardly be distinguished 
without a most diligent search : on the prayer-books nearest to 
it, and nowhere else, are inscribed the words * Christ-church 
Chapel,' as if to warn the Bishop off the forbidden ground. 
Nearly the whole area of the choir between the stalls is filled 
with benches looking west, and in which kneeling is all but 


impossible. These are occupied by the overgrown mass of 
undergraduates, and at the 'canons' prayers' partly by 
choristers. Further, that not an inch of available space may 
be lost, an arch on each side is blocked up by a gallery, which 
at surplice-prayers, when the students and commoners attend, is 
filled by the choir thus displaced. Finally, behind the stalls 
are some darksome dens, occupied by women, which greatly 
encumber the choir aisles. The screen [then blocking up the 
choir] is a cumbrous piece of work contemporary with the stalls, 
but of better character: it supports, of course, a vast and 
unsightly organ. The miserable appearance which is thus pro- 
duced in this really noble chancel is almost indescribable. The 
whole seems so narrowed and confined ; one feels pent in 
without the least scope for one's energies. Of the service per- 
formed within the degraded choir we can only trust ourselves 
to say that it is the most slovenly and irreverent that we have 
ever witnessed in any English cathedral." 

The stalls seem to have been particularly bad. The " Gentle- 
man's Magazine" for 1856 says that " the choir aisles and the 
chapels were also excluded from view, and almost from any 
participation in the service, "by the box-like framing, which rose 
to the height of eleven feet from the paving." Of course, all 
this had caused serious damage to the architecture : the pillars 
on the north and south side of the choir were, for instance, 
squaredy and their bases cut away ; thus mutilated they had 
been "encased with heavily moulded Italian framing inter- 
mixed with some remnants of Jacobean workmanship." 

But since the fifties the appearance of the cathedral has been 
completely changed. Dean Liddell began the restoration in 
1856, when Mr. John Billing was employed to repair some 
parts of the walls that had become unsafe, and to remove the 
galleries and high pews. The work then done was only tem- 
porary ; the reseating whereby decent accommodation was pro- 
vided for the whole college was managed out of the old wood- 
work, not a plank being taken out or carried into the church ; 
the organ was moved for the time into the south transept, so 
that the choir could be thrown open to the nave, and other 
work of a simple and necessary character carried through. 

In 1870, Dean Liddell employed Sir G. Gilbert Scott to 
carry on the great restoration, whereby very considerable 
changes were wrought in the fabric itself. 


On the whole, it has been real restoration, and not destruc- 
tion : here and there one might have wished that the changes 
had been less sweeping, or that the renewed carved work had 
been left unattempted till such time as the dignity of labour 
in craftsmanship is recovered ; but it remains one of the most 
judicious and successful works of restoration that this not 
impeccable age has produced. The difficulties to be encoun- 
tered were very great, for the church had suffered unusually ; a 
certain amount of rebuilding was therefore inevitable, and 
besides provision had to be made for the church as a college- 
chapel as well as a cathedral. 

The restoration was preceded by a report on the condition 
of the building, which Sir Gilbert Scott drew up in 1869. The 
following extract shows the " reparation " that was needed : — 

** It is fortunately the case that the main walls of the building 
do not show any symptoms of failure or of weakness. The 
external stone-work is very unequal in its state of preservation, 
some parts being very much decayed, while others have suffered 
in a very small degree. On the whole, however, there can be 
no doubt that the decay is very extensive, and even some parts 
which, at first sight, seem tolerably sound, are found on 
closer examination to be seriously decayed. The eastern parts 
are, as a rule, better preserved than those facing in other 
directions, though the southern aisle of the choir is also among 
the least decayed portions. The tower is generally very severely 
decayed, but the spire less so, though its lights are very much 
damaged. The reparation of this wide-spread decay is a work 
requiring much discrimination and judgment. Every stone 
which retains ancient work in an intelligible state should be 
carefully preserved, and only such parts renewed as have be- 
come shapeless from decay, or the retention of which would 
tend to future injury. 

" Internally, the stone-work generally needs little more than 
the careful brushing or washing off of the white-wash and the 
exposure of the original surfaces. This should be effected 
with extreme care and tenderness, so as not to efface in any 
degree the original tool-marks or to disturb any ancient wall- 
painting which may exist. The mutilations which the work 
has in some places suffered would of course be repaired, as 
well as any structural defects which may be brought to light." 

This proves that Gilbert Scott went to work with a full 



sense of his responsibility, so far as the "reparation" was 
concerned. With regard to the "restoration," many compli- 
cated questions arose, but Scott generally threw his weight on the 
conservative side, respecting all the alterations which had been 
effected before " the extinction of our national architecture in 
the sixteenth century " ; and, happily, respecting as well all the 
^ood work of a later date. Thus the organ-case and pulpit 
were spared. Duppa's work was mostly destroyed, his windows 
being rebuilt according to their former Perpendicular and 
Decorated designs, with the one interesting exception already 
mentioned. To make provision for the church's collegiate use, 
while rendering it at the same time suitable for diocesan purposes, 
an iron screen was carried round the nave as well as the choir, 
and the seats of the nave were set lengthways. This arrange- 
ment could not well have been bettered : the college is well 
accommodated without any blocking up of the church, and the 
choir is conveniently situated in the eastern bay of the nave. 
The organ at the same time was moved to the west end of the 
church, where a new bay was made ; and thus, while an increased 
effect of length was given, a screen was provided for the college- 
chapel, without hiding any of the old work in the nave, and the 
choir was no longer hidden by the organ. 

The great Decorated east window, which had been spoilt in 
the seventeenth century, was, after much deHberation, removed ; 
and, traces being found of a large circular window assumed to 
be Late Norman, the east end was rebuilt in accordance with 
the conjectured Norman design, — a bold venture, but a remark- 
ably successful one. At the same time the two Norman 
windows at the sides of the presbytery were reopened. 

The bay of the south transept, which had been cut off, and 
used as a house for the verger, was recovered, and the present 
vestry built therein, in a style, right no doubt in general plan, 
but not very successful in detail. 

The vaulting of the cloister was completed, and, by the 
happy expedient of building a raised wooden vault in one part, 
the old chapter-house door was once more fully exposed to view. 
The division which had entirely spoilt the chapter-house itself 
was removed > as were also the stone screens which had cut 
off and defaced the beautiful cluster of north-eastern chapels. 

The opening of the lantern-story added greatly to the beauty 
of the .interior, but it made it necessary to chime the bells 


instead of ringing them; and in 1878 they were removed alto- 
gether, as their vibration was considered 'dangerous to the 
tower, and an admirably contrived belfry built in 1880 over the 
staircase of the Hall by Mr Bodley. This architect also con- 
structed the porch which opens into Tom Quad, and affords 
an entrance to the cathedral at once more dignified and con- 
venient than before. 

Since Scott's time a good many further improvements have 
been effected, among which may be mentioned the reredos, the 
stained glass of Sir Edward Bume Jones, the fitting up of the 
Latin Chapel and recovery of the easter sepulchre therein, the 
recovery also of the marble base of the second shrine of St. 
Frideswide, and of the early Saxon arches hard by. 

At least it cannot be true now, as it seems to have been fifty 
years ago, that many persons, visiting Oxford to explore its 
antiquities, " actually go away without entering the cathedral 
church, or that undergraduates any longer pass an academical 
career, content to be aware possibly that Christ Church has 
its chapel, like other colleges." 



The peculiar position of Christ Church, as a cathedral which 
is three parts college chapel, is apparent to the most casual 
observer, who, passing by the college porter in the gateway of 
Tom Tower, finds himself in a great open quadrangle with a 
fine hall on one side, but no sign of a cathedral anywhere, 
except a spire which seems so far off that it might very well 
belong to some other college. He may well be struck by that 
doubtfulness as to any means of exit, which makes most of the 
colleges appear to the stranger as if they consisted of one 
quadrangle only. There really seems no way of getting to the 
cathedral, for the incipient cloisters of Tom Quad stretch in 
unbroken array round the four points of the compass ; and no 
one could be expected to guess that the two rat-holes at one 
side of the eastern terrace stand for the west front of a great 
church. But so it is, and on Sundays a crowd of citizens 
mingle with the undergraduates in their curious open surplices, 
and drift across the Quad, past Mercury fountain, leaving nq 
doubt in the mind of the traveller that this is a cathedral church, 
and he is as free of it as anybody else. There is, indeed, 
another entrance from the old cloister on the south side, which 
is public, though mainly convenient to those members of " The 
House " who dwell in the Old Library and Meadow Buildings ; 
and a third entrance besides, which is, however, the private boon 
of the Professor of Pastoral Theology. 

It follows, therefore, that without describing the various 
college buildings, which are rather outside our province, we 
can say little about the exterior, except in matters of detail ; for 
there is no close, and the cathedral is thus far from being 
common property that it is hidden in a rather intricate environ- 


iivK v.>{ <\\U*gc buildings and private gardens. But the one 
t. ^." tv >*nich in part rises above its misfortunes is the spire. 

rhe Spire* — Among all the strange domes and steeples 
H'>;c'> ^t\c to the city of Oxford such a unique appearance, 
I >i^ S'"v* of the cathedral is to the architectural eye not the 
Ivvivi >^ct iking. Very humble in its bearing, it seems to put 
K^tv^vttvl no claim to our attention, and may escape the notice 
vw vi hturit\l traveller; but it has more character and interest 
t\tu iho elaborate spire of the University Church itself. Its 
vvt\ uKKicsty gives it a distinction ; were it taller it would be 
'♦<u S.U10 among a hundred, but as it is there is no other in 
t t^iiUiui at all like it in the quiet dignity of its low proportions. 
I t\o first time one sees it one is most struck by its squat 
a I »j vara nee ; it seems almost to have been built as little more 
thati a convenient stone capping for the tower; and, indeed, 
^\u h time one returns to Oxford one is struck afresh by this 
K^wliness ; so that one fancies for a moment that it may have 
NuUsided a little during one's absence. But it quickly resumes 
Us old dignity — the kind of dignity that one sometimes notices 
ui short people — and every day it seems to grow a little higher. 
Homely and simple, as befits the crown of a foundation which 
is called " The House," it wins an almost human place in the 
artirtions of those who live near it ; and never was a spell so 
honestly cast, never a friend that bore so well the test of 

And its low proportions are soon accounted for. It is one 
A)f the earliest spires (perhaps the very first) ever built in 
Kngland. Thus it was an experiment in what must have 
iippeared at the time a very hazardous style of building ; and 
that which to us is low, to the men of the thirteenth century 
must have seemed dangerously lofty. It was a pioneer, and as 
such needed to be sturdy. We need not then regret that it is 
not like that of Sahsbury ; it gives the whole cluster of buildings 
a look of security, and it causes no anxiety to its guardians. 

"This spire," wrote Dr. Ingram in 1837, "certainly accords 
in character with some of the earliest specimens in Oxfordshire 
and Northamptonshire, measuring in height about two diameters 
of its base ; and it is remarkable, that the small turrets at the 
angles of the north transept are made to terminate in pyramidal 
octagons, similar to those which surmount the angles of the 
tower. These are the simple prototypes of those exuberant 




pinnacles, niches, and tabernacles, enriched with crockets and . 
finials, which so profusely embellish the spires and turrets of a 
later date. A singular specimen of this improved kind of 
turret is seen on the north side of the cathedral; beneath 
■which is an elegant niche, containing a statue of St. Frideswide." 

The lower story of the tower is Norman, or earlier, with later 
work added. The belfry-stage and the spire are early English. 
On each side of the lower story can be seen the line of the 
ancient high roof, destroyed in the Perpendicular period, to 
the great loss of the exterior effect, which Sir Gilbert Scott was 
anxious to restore. On -either side of the roof-line is a plain 
window. At each angle a circular turret supports the tower, 
the turret being reduced in size at the belfry-stage where the 
Early English work commences, and ornamented with a tall 
and graceful arcade ; an arcade being also carried all round the 
walls of the belfry-stage, and its central arches pierced for 
windows. Each turret finishes above the belfry-stage in a 
pinnacle. "These pinnacles," says Mr. R. J. King, "are 
modem ; but are faithful, or, more truly^ servile imitations of 
the ancient ones ; of which not only the original features, but 
those resulting from the wear and tear of six centuries, have been 
too exactly copied." 

The spire itself is octagonal, with circular ribs at the angles ; 
it is of the " broche " form, that is to say, it rises from the ex- 
terior of the tower walls, like most others of that period. Its 
eaves are supported by a corbel-table of pointed arches ; and 
from its cardinal faces project the four spire lights of the same 
graceful character as the arcading of the belfry-stage. When 
the upper part of the spire was restored, the beautiful finial of 
foliage was for some unaccountable reason not reproduced. The 
old spire point was erected in one of the canon's gardens, where 
it rests in peace. 

The tower can best be seen from the cloister, the staircase 
window in the Library in Peckwater Quad, and the canon's 
garden on the north side. Of course, there are many distant 
points of view ; but one from the path between the Broad Walk 
and Merton College gives a better idea of the cathedral as a 
whole than most. 

The tower can be ascended from the gallery in the south 
transept, but it should not be attempted by any but slim per- 
sons. The visitor makes his way along the clerestory and round 


the lantern, which is the first stage of the tower. Having 
avoided the iron bars which threaten him at every turn, he will 
have to squeeze through an incredibly small doorway, and then 
climb up a dark staircase which takes him, not into the belfry, 
but into the spire. One can only peer into the lower part of the 
belfry from the shuttered windows on the outside ; but as the 
interior of the spire is open to it, the whole, forming one queer- 
shaped room, can be seen therefrom. The bells have all 
gone, as they taxed the strength of the tower, having been 
originally cast for the larger tower of Oseney Abbey (see p. 43) ; 
they are now hung in the new bell-tower over the hall staircase. 
The belfry-stage can be considered octagonal from the interior,, 
four very short extra sides being formed by the angular turrets,, 
which are chamfered off on the inside. Above these are the 
squinches which support the spire. Round the arcade which 
contains the belfry windows runs a passage, made just like the 
clerestory passage of a church. The whole structure is re- 
markable for its careful and finished work, the very corbels just 
above the floor being heavily foliated, as if they were intended 
to be seen from below. 

The windows of the spire are interesting for the double plane 
of tracery which adds to the strength of the spire. The inner 
tracery resembles that without, with the difference that it has 
no transom. The transom, by the way, is a rare feature in the 
Early English period. 

The only exterior view of any extent is from the garden of 
the Professor of Pastoral Theology on the northern side of the 
cathedral. It seems unfortunate that so important a spot 
should be in private hands, and the public excluded ; but still 
a visitor who desires to go into the garden can obtain per- 
mission by applying at the professor's house in Tom Quad. 
The garden is a pretty one, and the view of the homely-looking 
cathedral set in this quiet old-fashioned retreat is well worth 
taking the trouble to see. The Latin Chapel, which seems to- 
stand right on the lawn, looks like some little village church, 
while the north transept seems inconceivably smaller than fromi 
the inside. 

From between the transept and the nave, near the house that 
is to say, there is an excellent view of the tower. 

Two remarkable square turrets flank the transept : they re- 
semble those at the east end, and are nearly of the same date ; 



they are, however, capped by pinnacles like those on the tower, 
but somewhat earlier. At the angle of the transept aisle there 
is a smaller turret, early Perpendicular in style, with crockets on 
its spire, and in its west face a niche with a weather-worn statue 
of St. Frideswide. The flowing tracery of the four beautiful 
windows of the Latin Chapel is well seen from here ; and the 
buttresses that support its wall should also be noticed. 

The Saxon Apses. — In this garden can also be seen 
the site of the Saxon apses, discovered in 1887 by Mr. Park 
Harrison. The history of this discovery is an extremely 
interesting one. It was known that two small rag-stone 
arches existed at the east end of the Lady Chapel and 


north choir aisle, though blocked up and concealed by plaster- 
ing inside the church. Their character and rude workmanship 
suggested that they formed part of the original church of the 
Holy Trinity, St. Mary, and All Saints, which was built c. 727 ; 
but there was some years ago a tradition among architects that 
nearly all Saxon churches were built of wood, and the pre- 
sumption naturally was that the original church was entirely 
destroyed in the fire of 1002. However, it came gradually to 
be admitted, even by the late Mr. J. H. Parker, that Saxon 
churches were built of stone from the earliest times ; it was 
further found to be implied by the charter of Ethelred that the 
old church had been of stone ; for the charter states that, 




when it was found necessary to dislodge the Danes by burning, 
the fire was thrown upon the wooden shingles of the roof. 
Another document supported this theory by stating that Ethel- 
red " repaired and enlarged " the old building. Thus the pre- 
sumption lately came to be that these arches, and the wall in 
which they stood, belonged to the church of 727. 

In opposition to this it was suggested that they were nothing 
more than barrow-holes made in the twelfth century to admit 
the Norman workmen. Mr. Harrison, however, was strongly 
opposed to this view, urging that no barrow-holes existed of 
such narrow dimensions as these doors, or in such an incon- 


venient place as the east wall of a chapel. In order to put his 
conviction to the test he asked that excavations should be 
made outside the east wall, to see if the doorways led into a 
crypt or " porticus," since apses, used for interments, had been 
found of an equally early date at Winchester and Lyminge. 

This venture of faith was triumphantly rewarded by the 
discovery in 1887 of the foundations of three apses, correspond- 
ing with these two arches, and with a third between them, of 
which traces were found shortly after. The first excavation in 
^ s. Skeletons ; B Bones ; P. Drain-pipe, 



the canon's garden took the form of a trench outside the 
southern arch, and led to the discovery of part of the founda- 
tion of an apse, which measured a quarter-circle. The rest 
of this foundation had been destroyed, evidently when the 
wall of the Norman presbytery was built (which, it is notable,- is 
quite twelve inches thicker than the wall containing the arches) ; 


but it was evident that the archway in the wall must have stood 
in the centre of a perfect apse. Similar foundations were next 
laid baire opposite the northern arch. Then the earth was re- 
moved opposite the Norman pilaster buttress, which, standing 
midway between the two arches, led the investigators to suppose 


that it hid a centre Saxon archway. Nothing was found at first 
but a small piece of concrete walling (2 feet by i^ feet) which 
it was at once seen might prove to be part of the north wall of the 
chancel of the ancient church, if a centre apse could be proved 
to have projected beyond the two side apses. Excavations 
were therefore commenced further east, with the result that 
the foundations of the central apse were discovered under a 
drive in the garden. The missing portion of this apse was 
accounted for by a main drain which had been cut across 
its inner side, and by a pit which had been made for the 
interment of bones found elsewhere in the Close. About the 
same time Mr. A. J. Evans, the Keeper of the Ashmolean 
Museum, found rag-stones by the side of the Norman buttress, 
which proved to be part of the central archway, a little wider 
and higher than the two side ones. It now became clear that 
this archway was really not a doorway at all but a small chancel- 
arch, the threp arches being similar to those still used in the 
conservative churches 6f the East. It is a foot wider than the 
chancel-arch of the Saxon church at Bradford, Wilts, and two feet 
wider than the arch between the tower and chancel of Wotten 
Wawen church in Warwickshire, the jambs and arches of which 
were also built of rag-stone. Further evidence of the antiquity 
of this east wall is the fact that the sill of the south archway 
was found to be 2 feet 8 inches below the level of the pavement 
of the Norman church, as is shown in the elevation. 

This Eastern plan of three apses was adopted about the 
same early period at Melbourne and Lindisfarn ; and, as it was 
not long before the death of the great Archbishop Theodore 
that this arrangement came in, there is a great probability that 
he introduced it from his native country of Syria, where the 
churches were always constructed with three apses. The 
absence of any marks of juncture upon the exterior of the walls 
also inclines one to suspect that there was a passage from apse 
to apse behind the wall, as there always is in Eastern churches. 
The whole arrangement will be made abundantly clear from 
the above conjectural ground-plan of the ancient church, c. 740. 

There are indications that these three apses are not of pre- 
cisely the same date, for the northernmost arch is the smallest 
of the three, and the apse is correspondingly smaller. It is 
therefore surmised that the southernmost apse belonged to the 
church of Didan, the father of St. Frideswide, and dedicated to 


the Holy and Undivided Trinity, " without any more title and 
addition," while the other apses were the additions of Frideswide 
herself, when the church was adapted to the purposes of a con- 
vent, with the additional dedication to St. Mary and All Saints. 
This may be the reason why the chapel in a line with the central 
apse, and therefore on the site of the ancient nave, is still the 
I^dy Chapel. 

Another important point rests upon the document which 
states that, when Ethelred II. enlarged and repaired the old 
building, the result was that the tomb of St. Frideswide, which 
before was on the south side of the church, thereupon stood in 
the middle. The tomb of St. Frideswide must therefore have 
been in the southernmost of these three apses (in a " chapel," 
as Wood says, on the south side of the convent church), and 
not, as some people have supposed, in the vault discovered 
under . the tower during %:ott*s restoration. A significant 
corroboration of the old document is supplied by the fact that 
the Norman plinth, which was carried across the other two 
archways, breaks off at the arch which leads into the south 
apse. It would thus seem that access was, after the Norman 
restoration, still afforded into this chapel, and that St. Frides- 
wide's relics remained there until the Translation of 1180, 
when they were moved "from an obscure to a more noted 
place in the church" on the completion of the Norman 

After the investigations had been completed, the earth was 
laid do)vn again, but stones have been set in the drive to mark 
the site of the old foundations. Some charcoal and reddened 
stone which was found — evidently a relic of the fire of 1002 — 
is now to be seen in the gallery over the vestry in the cathedral. 
In addition to this, the remains of a rough pavement were ex- 
posed in the north apse, and some square stones in the chord 
of the central apse, which seem to be part of the old altar. In 
addition to the numerous scattered bones that the workmen 
unearthed, two complete skeletons were found in the southern 
apse, and underneath the stone slabs upon which they lay 
another skeleton, that of a woman or a man of short stature, 
possibly that of Didan himself, or his wife Saffrida, who are 
both known to have been buried in the church. 

The Cloister now forms only three sides of a square, the 
western part having been destroyed by Wolsey in order to 


make room for the hall staircase. Considerably inferior to 
those of Magdalen and New College, it is small and unpre- 
tentious : its tracery, of a humdrum Perpendicular type (mostly 
restored), and its vaulting, which is peculiar, point to the latter 
half of the fifteenth century as the time of its erection. Of the 
earlier cloister no trace remains, except the door and windows 
of the chapter-house. The north walk was converted into a 
muniment room, much to the defacement, one may imagine, of 
this part of the college ; but it has now been restored, and a 
good imitation of the fine old Heme groined roof inserted, 
though funds have not been provided to finish the carving of 
the bosses. Mr. R. J. King points out that the panelling of the 
sides of the windows agrees very closely, even to the character 
of the cusps, with that introduced into the clerestory of the 
choir. The quadrangle of the cloister was the scene of Cran- 
mer's degradation. In its area^re the foundations of the 
lavatory, which was built about 1490. 

Above the arches of the cloister runs a story with latticed 
windows on the east and south side, which adds considerably 
to the picturesqueness of the whole. Indeed, as one stands on 
the steps leading to the hall, the ivy-grown cloister, in spite of 
its modest proportions, has a beauty of its own. The latticed 
windows give it an air of mystery, as if strange old rooms were 
concealed by them ; and in fact on the south side there is a 
curious library of time-worn theological books, which is seldom 
entered, and hardly ever used. The windows on the east side 
hide nothing more romantic than a small lumber-room, cut up 
by the raising of the wooden roof beneath, and an under- 
graduate's bed-chamber. 

From the same position at the west of the cloister one can 
enjoy the best view of the tower and spire of the church. One 
is close enough to see all the detail, and yet from this angle 
nothing is lost of the general effect. On a moonUt evening the 
effect is particularly solemn and beautiful. From this point 
also should be noticed the difference in the masonry of the 
south transept. The lower story is entirely of rubble, while 
the upper story is partly of good ashlar work. 

On the south side of the cloister is the Old Library, as it is 
now called, which was formerly the refectory of the monastery, 
and is all that now remains of the conventual buildings. Its 
large Perpendicular windows, rising like a clerestory above it, 



look on to the cloister, but they were spoilt on the inside by a 
staircase, when the building was turned into undergraduates' 
rooms. On the other side, facing the meadow buildings, there 
is a curious little oriel window, its lights now walled up, that 
once contained the pulpit whence the lessons were read during 
meals. The rest of the Perpendicular windows on this side 
are entirely gone, and the beauty of what was one of the best 
buildings in. Oxford de- 
stroyed. An engraving 
of the Refectory in its 
original state is given in 

The roof, which formerly 
hid the upper part of the 
chapter-house door, has 
been removed, and, by a 
happy device, a wooden 
roof groined in the same 
way has been inserted at 
a higher level, thus giving 
the old doorway the bene- 
fit of its full proportions. 
This doorway has been 
attributed to Prior Gui- 
mond, and belongs mainly 
to the later Norman 
period, of which it is a 
fine example. The two 
inner divisions of the arch 
are richly ornamented 
with zigzag moulding ; the 

two outer divisions rest on shafts, of which the pair on the 
north have sculptured, and the pair on the south plain cushion, 
capitals. On either side of the doorway is a round-headed 
window of two lights, plain without, but ornamented within 
with the same label as that which surrounds the outer arch of 
the doorway itself. An ancient painting can be made out on 
the north side of the northernmost of these windows ; it was 
traced recently, and found to be the figure of a saint. 

The Chapter-House was rebuilt in the very best Early 
English period, of which it is an excellent example. It bears 



some resemblance to the chapter-house at Chester, being 
especially remarkable for the purity of its style and the excellence 
of its detail. It would, indeed, be hard to find a better speci- 
men of a mediaeval chamber. 

As the whole effect of the room depends upon its proportions, 
it is hardly necessary to say that the extraordinary genius for mak- 
ing the worst of everything, which seemed at one time to take 
possession of the English people, inspired some one to build a 
wall right across the middle. This 
has, however, been removed, and the 
visitor has now nothing to complain of 
but a want of colour. The chapter- 
house has been used for divinity lec- 
tures since the Latin Chapel was 
restored to its original purpose; and 
the lower part of the walls is now 
^ hung with curtains, which help to de- 
^^■^"^s^ll I stroy the coldness due to the destruc- 
% 1 ki^y ^^^" ^^ ^^^ ^^^ painting and furniture. 

tL Ulr ^ ^^^ room is an oblong, divided into 

\ ^ four bays, the vaulting of which springs 

CORBEL IN cHAFfER- ^^om clustered shafts, supported on 
HOUSE. curiously carved corbels. Two of these 

corbels are in the form of monks' 
heads, very vividly conceived ; they face each other, and are 
thought, from the vivacity of their expression, to be represented 
as carrying on a conversation together. The perfect taste of 
the rich carving on the bosses of the roof will also be noticed. 
One of them represents our Lady crowned, in the act of giving 
an apple to the Holy Child. 

But the most striking feature of the chapter-house is its 
east end. An arcade of five arches fills the entire space ; of 
these the three central arches are pierced for windows, deeply 
recessed, and having a double set of shafts to support their 
arches, the inner shafts being clustered, and ornamented with 
dog-tooth moulding. Each light is crossed by a transom, with 
a later four-centred arch beneath. Foliage is introduced in the 
spandrels, and every capital in the room is richly foliated, nor 
could anything exceed the grace and finish of the carving. 
There are two windows of similar character on the south side of 
the room, and one on the north. There are also some pieces of 



remarkably fine glass in these side windows, which one should be 
careful not to miss. The remains of painting on the groined 
ceiling are not likely to escape notice,— the figures of St. Peter 
and St. Paul can be easily distinguished. 

A thirteenth century stone slab now rests in the chapter- 
house; it was brought here from Rewly Abbey, where it 
covered the tomb of Ela, wife of Thomas de Newburgh, Earl 
of Warwick, and daughter of William Longsp^e. In the east 
wall is preserved the 
foundation stone of 
Wolsey's College at 
Ipswich, the inscription 
on which runs, — ^^Anno 
Christi 1528^ et regni 
Henrici octaviy regis 
Angliae 20^ mensis vero 
Junii iSy positum per 
Johannem epm, Liden- 
sent,'' — John Holt being , 
titular Bishop of Lydda, 
and probably a suffra- 
gan of Lincoln. The 
stone has no connec- 
tion with Christ Church, 
beyond the fact that it 
commemorates another 
benefaction of Wolsey, and was presented to the House in 1789. 

A small staircase in the south wall leads up into the charming 
oak-panelled room, which is used by the chapter for meetings. 
In the window of the staircase will be noticed some initial 
letters and other devices in stained glass which are among the 
very finest of their kind. In the upper room itself, which looks 
pleasantly on to a garden, are some interesting pictures : — one . 
of Henry VII. ; another of the same king, younger, with his 
queen; Henry VIII.; Elizabeth; Mary; Samuel Fell, the father 
of Bishop Fell, and Dean of Christ Church himself; Busby, the 
terrible headmaster of Westminster School, also connected with 
this House ; two portraits of the talented Dean Aldrich, and one 
of Peter Martyr, whose wife was so strangely made to share the 
grave with St. Frideswide. Peter Martyr had been himself an 
Augustinian prior: he adopted strong reforming views, and 




was made Regius Professor of Divinity here in 1549. He 
lived near Tom Gate; but the undergraduates broke his 
windows, and he moved to the cloister, where he fortified his 
garden. According to Blunt, he gave up the professorship 
when the undergraduates annoyed him, but returned on being 
made a canon. In this chapter-room there is a good Eliza- 
bethan table, a curious old iron safe, and some Chippendale 

A gateway in the cloister to the north of the chapter-house 


leads into the slype, which occupies ^he position usual in 
monastic buildings between the chapter-house and the transept. 
In this case the slype is a plain barrel-vaulted passage that takes 
up part of the transept itself, and forms the lower story of the 
choir-vestry (as it now is) within the church. It leads into the 
old cemetery, whence a good view is obtained of St. Lucy's 
chapel, the east end, and the chapter-house. In the garden 
are the tombs of Philip Pusey, son of Dr. Pusey, and Edith 
Liddell, who is commemorated in St. Catherine's window. The 


round-headed doorway, now blocked up, should also be noticed : 
it may be one of the doorways of Ethelred's church, and is in 
any case the only ancient one left. 

The east end was restored in 187 1 by Gilbert Scott, in ac- 
cordance with the late Norman design, of which fragments, left 
when the Decorated window was inserted, still remained in the 
wall ; but how far exactly it follows the original no one appears 
to know. 

An elaborate wheel-window occupies the upper part of the 
chancel gable ; above it is a blind arcade of transitional pointed 
arches, and below are two round-headed windows. The square 
turrets at the angles are ornamented with arcading in three 
stories : the upper is on a level with the pointed arcading of the 
main wall, and similar in style ; the middle carries on the line 
of the wheel-window, and consists of two round arches on each 
turret ; the lower, on a level with" the two round-headed windows, 
is made up of three round arches, which, by intersecting, form 
four pointed arches. The whole, in spite of its being (with the 
exception of the turrets) a restoration, gives one a good idea of 
transitional work on a large scale. In plan it is still Roman- 
esque, in detail it is Early Gothic. 

The Bell Tower, which stands above the hall-staircase, is 
really only a stone case built by Mr. Bodley to hide the wooden 
structure which actually contains the bells. The tower, as it 
now stands, is incomplete, Mr. Bodley having intended a 
lofty and intricate wooden superstructure to rest upon it. The 
authorities, however, were afraid of its dwarfing the spire and Tom 
Tower, and consequently left the structure in its present state, 
much against the opinion, as we understand, of the architect, 
whose completed design can be seen in the common-room, and 
is so magnificently picturesque, that one cannot help hoping that 
the authorities will see their way to erecting it. After all,, if 
every one in the past had been afraid of overtopping the 
cathedral, Oxford would never have become the " Sweet city of 
her dreaming spires " that we know. The cathedral can hold 
its own, and so can Tom Tower ; for neither makes any pre- 
tensions to loftiness. The original hall-tower seems to have 
stood on the same spot before the space was cleared for the 
erection of Dean Fell's staircase. 

The bells themselves are, with Great Tom, the only relics 
left of the glorious Abbey of Oseney. They were considered 



the finest in England, and were after their removal to the 
cathedral made famous again as "The merry Christ Church 
bells " of Dean Aldrich's catch. Their names are contained in 
the following line, which professes to be a hexameter — 
Hautclerc, Douce, Clement, Austin, Marie, Gabriel et John, 


Tom Tower, over the entrance to Tom Quad from St. 
Aldate's, is one of the characteristic features of the city. The 
lower story was built by Wolsey, but the cupola which gives it 
so uncommon an appearance was added by Sir Christopher 
Wren in 1682. On the side facing St. Aldate's is a statue of 
the great Cardinal, in a very dramatic attitude, and on the 
quadrangle face a statue of Queen Anne, placed there by her 
minister Harley, with this inscription, — Annae Principi Optimae 
Secretarius ipsius principalis Robertus Harley hac in sede posuit 












^uod illam cokret et hanc amaret The vault of the archway 
under Tom Tower is decorated with the arms of those who 
helped towards the completion of the quadrangle. " Tom," the 
great bell which gives its name to the quadrangle, and its 
orders to the whole University, came, with the cathedral bells, 
from Oseney Abbey; and twenty shillings were paid in 1545 
for the conveyance of Tom and his satellites from the Abbey 
to Christ Church. It weighed 17,000 pounds, and bore the 
inscription, — In Thomae laude resono Bim Bom sinefraude ; but 
it was recast in 1680, and its present inscription is Magnus 
Thomas Clusius Oxoniensis renatus Apr, 8, 1680, It will have 
to be recast again some day, for it is sadly out of tune ; its 
note ought to be B flat, but is not, and the bell itself is 

Perhaps the other college buildings are sufficiently connected 
with the history of the cathedral to allow of our mentioning 
them. For Wolsey built the kitchen, which is a remarkably 
fine specimen of the peculiar architecture necessitated for such 
a building, and also the magnificent hall, the finest perhaps in 
England, and interesting to us also as containing the portraits 
of many of the men referred to in this book. Wolsey also 
built three sides of Tom Quad. Though the bases of the 
buttresses for its cloister invite the enterprising builder, the 
Quad is probably best left as it is ; for a projecting cloister is 
not anything the architectural success that a cloister is which 
forms the ground story of a building continued over it, and the 
Quad is besides so large as to be unmanageable in the matter 
of cloisters. The fountain in the middle is called " Mercury,"^ 
because Dr. Anthony Radcliffe set up a statue there of the 
nimble god. Frank Buckland, by the way, about five years 
before his death, put into Mercury several golden carp ; there 
was also added an Aurea Tinea from Austria, a superb creature, 
popularly called " TKe Dean." The surface of the Quad was in 
1665 lowered three feet, so as to give a greater appearance of 
height to the surrounding buildings. Bishop John Fell finished 
the quadrangle, and his father, Dean Samuel Fell, built the 
vaulted staircase of the Hall (1640), which is one of the instances 
of the curious survival of Gothic in Oxford, that home of " lost 
causes," which need never have been lost, and of " impossible 
ideals," which ought to be made possible. Late as it is, and 
open to the structural criticism of all Perpendicular work. 


it is most deservedly admired. The staircase itself must not 
be laid to Fell's charge ; it is the work of the James Wyatt. 
Dean Aldrich built Peckwater Quad, which is a decent work 
of its kind, too grim and gloomy to be as attractive as All 
Saints Church, and dreadfully disfigured by the strange ten- 
dency to moulder away that besets Headington stone, from 
which Oxford as a whole has suffered so much. 

The Library in Peckwater Quad was begun in 17 16 (designed 
by Dr. G. Gierke), and finished in 1761, the original intention 
having been to leave an open piazza beneath it; but its columns 
were connected, in the end, by a wall. It contains a few first- 
rate pictures (including an exquisite Francesca) among a great 
many palpable shams, and a collection of drawings mainly by 
fifteenth and sixteenth century artists, which are said to have 
given Ruskin his first enthusiasm for Italian art, when he was 
an undergraduate at the House. Wyatt was the architect of 
Canterbury Gate. 

Dean Liddell built the Meadow Buildings nearly thirty years 
ago ; the architect was Mr. T. Deane. They are as bad as the 
other college buildings in Oxford of the same period. 



The cathedral is best entered through the handsome porch 
in Tom Quad which was cut by Mr. Bodley through one of 
the canonical houses ; in order, perhaps, to announce that the 
old regime had passed away, and the time at last arrived when 
" the teachers of theology no longer dwell on the ruins of the 
church they should protect," as a writer fifty years back had 
half-despairingly foretold. This porch is a happy compromise 
between the old heart-breaking descent into a half-ruined nave, 
and the rather impossible scheme of continuing the church into 
the middle of the Quad. The former spoilt the cathedral, the 
latter would have spoilt the college ; but by the present arrange- 
ment the church serves very creditably for both its purposes, 
and one may well spend a day there without remembering 
what Wolsey did to the nave. 

On entering the cathedral itself the visitor finds himself in a 
kind of narthex which is in fact the ante-chapel of a college 
chapel. Before him is the organ-screen, the entrance under 
which is veiled by a curtain at service time ; on either side he 
has a glimpse of the aisles. The effect is peculiar, but not 
unpleasant, although the ante-chapel is a bare bit of modern 
restoration, wisely left unsculptured, and unrelieved except for 
some monuments, of which one may gratefully say that they 
are best where they are. But passing under the screen, all is 
changed. We find ourselves in one of the most charming and 
distinctive interiors of a country of interesting churches. The 
curious and happy arrangement of the great pillars and 
triforium, the variety and originality of tiie sculptured capitals, 
the rich pendent vaulting of the choir, and the touch of 
mystery in the further chapels, all combine to give to this 




creation of a long and chequered history an attraction peculiarly 
its own. 

Yet the same bluntness of aspect which impresses one in the 
spire is the leading characteristic of the interior also. Only in 
this case the effect is not part of the original plan, but is due 
to the destruction by Wolsey of the three Western bays. 
Things must have seemed far worse before the new western 
bay added twenty feet to the nave, and brought the church 
right back to the cloister around Tom Quad, for though it only 
serves as an ante-chapel, it yet helps considerably to break the 
enclosed appearance, which must have been almost oppressive 

As it is, Christ Church is the smallest of our cathedrals : for 
even with the new ante-chapel it measures but 175 feet in 
length. Instead of being of the usual cruciform plan, it is 
now almost square, — in fact, the length from the reredos to the 
organ-screen is 132 feet, while the breadth across from the 
Latin Chapel to St. Lucy's Chapel is 108 feet. The church is 
made up of the shortened nave with its two aisles, and ante- 
chapel, the central tower, the north transept with its one 
aisle, the south transept, and the eastern half of the church, 
which itself contains no less than six divisions, — the choir, with 
its two aisles, the Lady Chapel on the north, and the Latin 
Chapel (or St. Catherine's) on the north again of that, while 
on the south is the small chapel of St. Lucy. 

If the unusual appearance of the cathedral is partly due to 
Wolsey's destruction, it is partly due also to its being used as a 
college chapel, and partly to the fact that in general plan, and 
to some extent in detail, it is Ethelred's design, commenced 
seventy years before the great developments of Norman archi- 
tecture began. Ethelred himself probably only completed the 
choir and adjacent parts, and even there the work was very 
much altered in late Norman times; while the nave itself 
seems to be principally Norman (though built in imitation 
of Ethelred's work), with the exception of the pillars, which 
must be earlier than the Norman restoration, and may be of 
Saxon date, though we have no documentary clue as to what 
happened from the reign of Canute to that of Henry I., except 
that the church was, dftring the latter part of the time, in a very 
bad way. 

The following are Mr. Park Harrison's conclusions as to the 


general plan of the church, which he set before the British 
Archaeological Association in 1892: — "The design of the 
building is clearly derived from the original pre-Norman 
church. The uniformity of plan throughout aifords a remark- 
able instance of the way in which early church-builders imitated 
previous work, the process being, at Oxford, slow enough to 
make stages in the construction, that must have occupied 
instead of thirty years, as stated in the explanatory cards 
suspended in the cathedral, and quoted in some of the guide- 
books, at least i6o. There were three changes in the profiles of 
the bases, and three in the abaci, all before the years 11 70 or 
1 1 80." 

Thus the cathedral is a most important evidence of the . 
high state of civilisation at which our Anglo-Saxon fore- 
fathers gradually arrived after the landing of St. Augustine. 
It is some satisfaction to our national pride to discover 
that they did not owe their culture to the Norman settle- 
ment, nor worship in wooden sheds before the arrival of 
the Conqueror, as was till recently supposed; but that the 
people who produced poets like Caedmon, artists like Dunstan, 
and scholars like Alfred and Bede, were also able to build 
churches worthy of such great names. More will be said about 
their workmanship when we come to discuss the capitals in the 
choir, but here we may refer the reader to a drawing in Mr. 
Harrison's pamphlet, " The Pre-Norman Date," of the apse of a 
church from the " Dunstan " MS., which shows at what elaborate 
architecture the Anglo-Saxons had arrived by the year 1000, and 
illustrates the curious foliage found on the cathedral capitals. 

The Nave was probably completed during the priorate of 
Robert of Cricklade (c. 1 160-1180), the restoration being begun 
shortly after 1158, when the Pope's charter was secured. The 
clerestory, which is transitional, may therefore have been still 
unfinished at the time of his death. 

The remarkable arrangement of the triforium is characteristic 
of all the four main divisions of the church. From the large 
pillars spring circular arches worked with heavy round mould- 
ings. Underneath these arches, not above them, is the triforium 
which is a blind arcade of two arches set in the tympanum 
beneath the main arch. The reason why there is this space 
under the main arch is because corbels in the form of half- 
capitals are set on the further side of the great pillars, a good 




way below the true capitals, to support the vaulting of the aisles. 
In this way, says Scott, "the pillars and arches have been 
divided, as it were, into two halves in their thickness, the half 
facing the aisle retaining its natural height and proportions, but 
that facing the central space being so raised as to embrace the 
triforium stage, the openings of which appear between the two 
ranges of arches ; the clerestory ranging above." Of course, by 
this arrangement, the pillars avoid the low and stumpy pro- 
portions they would otherwise have, and the general effect of 
height in the nave (which is actually only 41 feet 6 inches) is 
considerably increased; for, were the triforium in the usual 
place above the main arches, the main pillars would not come 
any higher than the lower half-capitals. The arrangement is 
very unusual in England; though it is found in Italian 
Gothic, and even in Renaissance work in that country, 
as in St. Petronio, Bologna. It occurs in the transept of 
Romsey Abbey, in the choir at Jedburgh, in Dunstable Priory, 
and in Tewkesbury Abbey. That it existed in Saxon times 
is proved by a drawing in Caedmon's Paraphrase (c. 1000) in 
the Bodleian (c,f, "The Pre-Norman Date"). Dr. Ingram, 
who wrote in 1830, thought that this arrangement was made in 
order to raise the height of the building in the twelfth century, 
the triforium being the clerestory of the old Saxon church 
peeping out under the later work. And though his zeal was 
not according to knowledge (he thought the chapter-house 
doorway was Saxon), yet there is a possibility that this theory 
of his may have some truth in it. 

Until lately, the church was thought to belong altogether 
to Prior Guimond's time. Sir Gilbert Scott fixed the date 
of the rather heavily carved capital over Bishop Berkele/s 
monument at 1170-80, owing to its close resemblance to 
certain capitals at Canterbury Cathedral of this period. The 
others seem to be of earlier date than this, and possibly 
of Ethelred's time. Strange as they are, however, they do not 
suggest a Saxon origin so strongly as do those of the choir. 
They are unique in design, and have neither the massiveness 
of Norman, nor the crisp severity of Early English work. The 
light, graceful, and rather fantastic foliage of the three eastern 
capitals on the south side — almost like iron-work — will be 
noticed. The third capital on the north side bears some 
resemblance to two of those in the choir. 


The pillars of the nave also present problems of some 
difficulty. They are alternately circular and octagonal, and 
the masonry of six of them points with something like certainty 
to a date considerably earlier than the twelfth century restora- 
tion. In the four western pillars the stones are a good deal 
smaller than those in the two octagonal ones of the next bay : 
this makes it highly probable that they are of earlier date than 
the octagonal pillars, which are certainly Norman of the period 
of the restoration c. 1160. Mr. Har- 
ii , :Bt*«T?^ r rison believes there is also consider- 

able evidence that the two cylindrical 
pillars were reduced in girth in order 
to make them of the same size as the 
^;^ "^^ ^ octagonal pillars then introduced ; for 
^^»^^^ m the lower half-capitals project nine 
^^k ^^ inches on either side beyond the 
^^ pillars, while in those of the choir, 

EARLY ENGLISH MOULDING, which are unreduccd, their projection 
is only five. There is also reason 
to suppose that the other pair of octagonal pillars, those by the 
organ-screen, were cut out of older ones at the same time. 

The clerestory windows are transitional, as is proved among 
other things by their being pointed, for purely aesthetic reasons, 
and not (as in the case of the north and south tower-arches) 
from any structural necessity. Each window has a smaller 
blind arch on either side of it, making a triple opening within 
to a single window in the wall ; and the shafts of this 
triple opening are made to carry small attached shafts which 
bear the arches above. The capitals of the larger and lower 
shafts spread in an unusual manner, having to support a mass 
of walling. 

The Roof is a fine example of sixteenth century wood-work, 
and doubtless replaced a simpler Norman roof of wood ; but the 
brackets which support it were added later to the Norman 
shafts, in order to carry a Perpendicular vault of stone, which 
was never carried out. It is divided into small panels, whose 
ornament, though rich, is rather mechanical. 

The nave and choir are used as the College Chapel of Christ 
Church. In the returned stalls by the organ-screen sit the two 
censors ; most of the undergraduates occupy the benches of the 
nave (which are modern wood-work carved by Chapman after 

NAVE AND CHOIR, LOOKING Y.k^'Y {from a photograph by 
Carl Norman (Sr» Co,\ 



Sir G. G. Scott's designs), as far as the raised seats where the 
choir sits; the central benches under the tower are reserved 
for the freshmen ; while the dean, canons, students (/>., 
fellows), and graduates fill the stalls of the choir, the other 
seats of the choir being occupied by the Scholars. The public 
use the aisles, transepts, and chapels on Sundays, but on week- 
days are free of the nave for the two special cathedral services. 

Monuments of the Nave. — Berkeley's monument is 
attached to one of the north pillars, which it entirely defaces. 
George Berkeley was Bishop of Cloyne, and died in 1753, 
during a visit to Oxford ; he was as good as he was famous, and 
his monument is as large as it is ugly. The epitaph, though 
not altogether untrue, and doubtless well meant, has the unfor- 
tunate eifect of prepossessing the reader against its subject, — 
St Christianus fuerisy si amans patriae, utroque nomine gloriari 
potes Berkleium vixisse. Beneath is inscribed the quotation 
from Pope, — 

** To Berkeley eveiy virtue under heaven." 

On the pier by the pulpit the talented Dean Aldrich is com- 
memorated by a bust, which shows him to have had a very 
good face, and bears by way of further adornment a winged skull 
that is quite unnecessarily hideous. Aldrich has been already 
referred to : he was the architect of Peckwater and All Saints, 
the composer of many well-known anthems and services, the 
author of the once standard "Oxford Logic," and "a most 
universal scholar." He succeeded Massey, the Roman Catholic 
dean, who had to " make off and retire across the seas " in 1689. 
Browne Willis says of Aldrich that "as he spent his Days in 
Celibacy, so he appropriated his Income to Hospitality and 
Generosity, and, like Bishop Fell, always encouraged learning ; 
as a celebrated Author tells us, * to the utmost of his Power, 
being one of the greatest then in England, if we consider him 
as a Christian, or a Gentleman,^ to which give me leave to add 
that he always had the Interest of his College at heart ; of 
which I may experimentally say, he was an excellent Governor." 
He was very modest, and desired to be buried without any 
memorial, a wish which was at first complied with by his 
"thrifty nephew." Sunk into a pillar opposite is a curious 
old brass, to the memory of John Walrond, student, who died 
young in 1602. 

A marble slab on the pavement in the midst of the nave com- 



memorates Dr. Fusey, who was canon of Christ Church, in 
virtue of his Hebrew Professorship, and lies buried here. The 
Latin inscription mentions also his wife and daughter, and of 
him it speaks as " Professor of the Hebrew tongue, and Canon 
of this church {aedis\ who in the peace and pity of Jesus fell 
asleep, September i6th, 1882, being 82 years and 24 days 

The Org^an stands on a fine Jacobean screen, dating from 
Duppa's time (c. 1635) ; it was removed here from before the 
choir during the restoration. The 
outer casing belonged to a former 
organ built by Father Schmidt in 1680. 
The present instrument was built by 
Willis & Son in 1884. It has four 
manuals and pedals, thirty-nine speak- 
ing stops, nine couplers, ten pneumatic 
pistons, six composition pedals, and 
other accessory movements. It has a 
very fine tone, and is well placed for 
sound. Its external appearance is 
much improved by the pretty green 
appliquk curtain which now hangs in 
front of the organist's seat. 

The Pulpit.— Christ Church is 
fortunate in possessing an old oak 
pulpit, escaping thus the garish ven- 
tures in marble which have been dis- 
astrous to so many other cathedrals. 
This pulpit is Jacobean (c. 1635). ^^ 
is a remarkable piece of workmanship, elaborately carved, and 
well designed : the grotesques on the panels should be especially 
noticed, as wejl as the light elevated canopy, surmounted by a 
pelican, which was at one time transferred to the episcopal 
throne, and has recently been restored to its original use. 

The Tower is not ^square, the nave and choir sides being 
wider than those of the transepts. For this practical reason 
(and not because of the transitional character of the work, 
though transitional it is) the north and south arches are pointed, 
while the east and west are round-headed. The tower arches 
seem originally to have sprung from the imposts ornamented 
with trefoil leaves which can still be seen, though they were cut 



through when the present capitals were introduced at the time 
of the Norman restoration. The Norman shafts and capitals 
were attached to the older and ruder piers. Round these piers 
are the shafts of very firm and graceful proportions, their 
capitals decorated with foliage. The lower parts of the vaulting 
shafts of the great piers are cut off and finished with a narrow 
beading, which shows that the ritual choir originally stood here, 
and did not correspond with the structural choir. 

The lantern, which had been blocked up, was reopened at the 
time of the recent improvements, and adds considerably to the 
appearance of the church. Its first stage is ornamented with 
an arcade of stout Norman shafts, whose capitals are carved 
with a breadth and simplicity well suited to the height at which 
they stand : the arcade is bounded above and below by a heavy 
round string course. The upper stage has another arcade, 
of four large round arches on each side, the corner ones 
pierced as windows. Above is an early sixteenth century roof : 
it is divided into square panels, in most of which marks of the 
old ornaments (in the form of Maltese crosses like those of the 
nave roof) can be clearly discerned. At the springing of the 
main arches Fifteenth Century corbels have been inserted. In 
the south-east pier of the tower occurs the break in the 
masonry which marks, it is thought, the cessation of the 
building operations when Ethelred was driven out of England 
by Sweyn. It can be clearly seen from the south choir aisle. 
The tooling of the masonry half way up the tower has also 
been found to be marked with the cross lines, which dis- 
tinguish Saxon from Norman mason's work. 

During Mr. Billing's restoration in 1856 a remarkable crypt 
was opened three feet beneath the paving of the choir between 
the north and south piers of the tower. This crypt, which was 
covered up again after investigation, was 7 feet long by 5 feet 
6 inches, and just high enough for a man to stand upright ; its 
walls were of stone, and contained aumbries or lockers at each 
end. There were also slight remains of indented crosses on the 
western side, and at the east enough was missing to suggest a 
doorway. The entrance to this chamber may have been 
through a trap-door, or by a passage leading into the east side. 
It was clearly not intended for sepulture, as its length was from 
north to south ; and the absence of passages giving convenient 
access on each side seems to* prove that it was not intended 


for the exhibition of relics. The tnost likely theory is that it was 
used as a secret chamber to contain the University chest, which 
was called the Frideswide chest, because it was kept in a secure 
place in this church, its keys being in the hands of certain 
canons by appointment of the chancellor. If this seems a very 
public place for a secret chamber, it must be remembered that 
originally it was immediately under the rood-loft, and therefore 
admitted of a trap-door being concealed ; though the resting- 
place of the chest may not have been kept very secret for all 
we know. This crypt was probably made in Norman times, 
and is unique of its kind. 

The Aisles of the Nave and Transepts show the progress 
which was made at the end of the twelfth century in vaulting : 
Mr. Ruskin says of the work here that it is " bad and rude 
enough, but the best we could do with our own wits, and no 
French help." Vaulting originally began with square ribs, after- 
wards the ribs became plain half-rounds, and later were moulded. 
Here we find good specimens of the development of all three 
stages. In the choir aisles the vaulting arches are partly square 
and the ribs on the groins half-round, of a heavy character. 
These ribs were inserted at a later period, as is sufficiently clear 
from the awkward way they are fitted to corbels at the side 
of the capitals which carry the vault. In the west aisle of the 
north transept the vaulting is the same, but lighter in character ; 
and there are no corbels, though the fitting is still awkward. 
In the north aisle of the nave the vaulting is pointed but still 
with plain half-round ribs, a little lighter than in the transept- 
aisles. But in the south aisle of the nave, as the builders got 
on with their work to the westward, their style underwent a 
further development, and a pear-shaped moulding with a fillet 
along the edge proclaims that the Early English period had begun. 
With the completion of this aisle they seemed to have become 
bolder ; for the vaulting shafts in the transepts with their un- 
mistakable Norman capitals, and the solitary ribbed stones 
resting on those of the south transept, prove that they intended 
to go beyond the practice of Norman architects and throw a 
vault across the wider span of the transepts themselves. 
Perhaps they immediately afterwards discovered that the task 
was beyond them : at all events the vaulting shafts were left as 
they are, and the transepts have never been vaulted. 

The windows of the nave and transept aisles are uniformly 


uninteresting. They were originally plain Norman lights, 
then Perpendicular, then seventeenth century Gothic, and 
finally " restored " by Scott, in imitation of the Perpendicular 
work. The windows of Dean Duppa, which they replaced, 
were certainly not beautiful in their tracery, as may be seen by 
tliat at the west end of the north nave aisle, which only the de- 
lightful Dutch glass of Van Ling redeems, — but they at least 
had some character. In the south nave aisle an attempt has 
been made to hark further back by the introduction of a 
window in Norman style ; but fortunately this has not been 
persevered with. Only one of the original Romanesque windows 
remains, by which to judge the effect contemplated by the first 
architects ; it is that containing Bishop King's portrait. 

Glass in the Aisles. — The glass in the restored Perpen- 
dicular windows of the nave aisles (by Clayton and Bell) is 
very unsatisfactory both in colour and design. Of that in the 
round-headed window of the south aisle of the nave by an Irish 
artist (O'Connor) one can only say that it was better conceived 
than executed. Over the door that leads into the cloister is a 
half-window by Mr. Wailes. 

The "Faith, Hope, and Charity" window next to this 
(namely, at the west end of the aisle) was Sir Edward Burne 
Jones' second essay here in this craft. If his first, that in St. 
Catherine's, the Latin Chapel, was a wonderful success, this one 
is a not unpleasant failure, but a failure none the less. None 
of the figures are very graceful ; the firing seems to have gone 
wrong in the most important places, especially in the faces, 
which are coarse and expressionless, though one cannot help 
admiring the fortitude of Charity in carrying the bulky infant 
who presents his vast back to the spectator. The colour is 
strong, and free from the miserable timidity of the work in 
the Perpendicular windows, — ^for the whole thing is of course a 
work of art (and not of commerce), though an unsuccessful one, 
— still it fails to harmonise. The window as a whole, however, 
is saved by the beautiful foliage which forms the background, 
and by the four slender figures in the tracery. 

Others have admired it more. Here, for instance, is an 
appreciative description from the columns of " The Builder " for 
April 1888 : — "The figure of Hope has a greyish-blue drapery, 
varied in tint, and diapered with the pattern of a flower in 
stain. The scarf floating round the figure is sky-blue in tone, 


and lighter than the dress. The figure of Charity has a ruby 
over-mantle, with a white dress underneath ; while the figure 
of Faith has a blue dress beautifully and richly diapered, the 
upper portion with a sumptuous Venetian design familiar on 
the brocades of the sixteenth century, and the lower portion 
with a sprig of foliage. The tone of the backgrounds is a rich, 
warm green, and is very carefully painted with foliage, and the 
contrast yielded by the pale blue of the drapery, and the rich, 
warm green of the background in the two outside windows, is 
most harmonious and striking. The detail in this window is 
very elaborate, and every part of it bears traces of care and 

In a corner of this window is an inscription, — In Memoriam 
Edwardi Denison hujusce Aedis commensalis Curd amicorum^ 
A.D. i8yo, Edward Denison, nephew of the Speaker, and son 
of the Bishop of Salisbury, was the pioneer of those who have 
since founded the numerous settlements in the neglected parts of 
London. At a period of acute distress he convinced himself 
that no good could be done by sending money from the West 
End unless educated people could be found who would give up 
their lives to making friends with the poor. Accordingly he 
took the novel step of going to live in the East End ; there he 
founded a club, and Uved apart from the brilliant society to 
which he was accustomed. Besides teaching and organising, 
he studied carefully the social conditions of his neighbours, and 
many of the methods now universally practised date from his 
experience. Shortly after he had been elected M.P. for Newark 
he died, at the early age of twenty-nine, and there was " hardly 
a home within his district that had not some memory left of 
the love and tenderness of his personal charity." 

In the west end of the north aisle of the nave is the last 
remaining relic of the glass which the Dutchman Van Ling 
painted in Dean Duppa's time. The rest, which filled the aisle, 
was removed about twenty-five years since, on the ground that 
it made the church too dark. There are various opinions about 
this window, which represents Jonah sitting under his gourd, 
and the town of Nineveh in the distance. We must confess to 
a great admiration for it ; the foliage is fine and rich, and if it 
is a little over-strong in its green, that only makes it more 
characteristic of its age. And, however that may be, there cannot 
be two opinions as to beauty of the town in the background, 


which reminds one irresistibly of Diirer; and, with its rich 
brown houses, bluish roofs, touches of greenery, and fair 
purple hills beyond, make the right-hand light of the window a 
picture of which one never wearies. The whole is leaded in 
rectangular panes, like Bishop King's window. 

Monuments of the Nave /Qsles. — In the south aisle 
there are two monuments of interest ; that of Corbet (1688) for 
the characteristic decoration of cupids and wreath work ; that 
of Pococke for further reasons. Edward Pococke (i 604-1 691), 
whose bust was moved here from the north aisle by Scott, is 
represented with pointed beard and wearing the old tufted 
college cap. He was the great Arabic scholar of his day ; the 
first text in Hebrew characters printed at Oxford was published 
by him, and his 420 oriental MSS. were bought by the 
University. Yet he was condemned, imder the Common- 
wealth, by the Berkshire "Committee of Scandalous Ministers," 
on the ground of "insufficiency," his real offence being that he 
had used part of the Prayer Book in the public service. There 
are two portraits of him in the Bodleian, representing him with 
light hair and dark eyes ; and a fig-tree which he planted still 
flourishes on the south side of the Professor of Hebrew's house. 
A striking biography of him has come down to us in a sentence 
— " His fife appeared to me one constant calm." 

The North Transept has the unnoticeable peculiarity, 
that it turns slightly westward. This is because the choir (into 
which it is built at right angles) turns a little to the north, 
to symbolise, it is said, the droop of our Lord's head upon the 
cross. The western aisle of this transept still remains; the 
eastern aisle has been lost in the chapels, of which it now 
forms the respective western bays. 

The north bay of this transept bears the marks in its clerestory 
of late Perpendicular restoration ; the carved heads on the 
string-course above the arch afford an interesting comparison 
with the Norman heads above the capitals, and are vigorous 
sketches of contemporary life. The capitals in this transept 
and those in the north aisle of the nave are strong and, varied. 
The wooden roof of both the transepts was made in the early 
sixteenth century, earlier than that of the nave. 

The tracery of the great north window had been altered and 
made ugly by the seventeenth century restorers ; it was accord- 
ingly restored back to its original design by Sir Gilbert Scott. 




Under this north window is a panelled tomb belonging to 
Henry VII.'s time. It is attributed to James Zouc\ a monk 
of the priory, who died in 1503. In his will, dated October 
16, 1503, and preserved in the Prerogative Office in London, 
he directs that he shall be interred under the window of the 
north transept, and a tomb be erected for him in the midst of the 
same window. He also bequeathed ;^3o to the convent for 

• • ■ ■ vaulting that part of the 

iHBi^^/T^^H^H^^^^^IH church, in consideration of 
^^^KsH^^^^^^^P^^I his being there buried. 
^^^^^^^S^^^^H^r I^H On each of the shields 
I^^^Bb^^^^^^Km^H in the quatrefoil compart- 
fSPt^^^^^BK^B^^ ments the 
^P ^T^^^^^^^^^^B^H inkhorn and pen-case, 
H f^^^^^^^^^^H dicating, said, that 

^^^.....^^^U^^^H^^^^^^I the monk was a notary 

R^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^1 ^"^ scribe by profession, 
B^l^^^^^l though Dr. Ingram speaks 
B ^^^^^^1 of " the pen-case and ink- 
F ^H^^H horn of Zouch" as an 
^^^^j^^l heraldic blazonry. 
K f^^l In the north transept 
fl *^^B aisle there are curious 
^ ^^ ^f^H thin, wavy scrolls of^ 
^"'■#^ J^^l brasses, commemorating 
.dS^^^H '' Leonardus Hutton," and 
"ifS^^^^V hard by are two pleasant 
'^H^^Hh kneeling figures also in 
^^^^^^ brasses. 


ments that disfigured the 
church have fortunately been removed ; of these is Chantrey's 
great sitting figure of Cyril Jackson, which took up most of the 
north transept, but is now removed to the Library. Of these 
sequestrated monuments some have been placed in the ante- 
chape?; among them are the large and simple memorial of 
Bishop Fell, and those of Dean Gaisford (d. 1855) and Bishop 
Lloyd (d. 1829). 

One cannot but admire the spirit which has caused so many 
brasses to be set up in recent years to deceased members of 
the House ; and yet it has become an abuse which calls for 


serious protest. It is now so much a precedent that every 
member of the foundation should have a brass set up to his 
memory at his death, that the tribute is become mechanical, 
and indeed it would now be a marked slight if any don should 
die without a memorial brass being erected. At this rate the 
cathedral will in a few generations be entirely defaced unless 
the tradition be interrupted. As it is, the brasses are all the 
reverse of beautiful ; and, after a period of lacquered obtrusive- 
ness, they become leprous, and afterwards black. A modern 
brass, indeed, defaces a wall as much as a modern tablet. 
Surely some more beautiful form of memorial could be devised. 
The cathedral is in need of many things, of colour, and hangings, 
and furniture. Could not those tributes of respect take in the 
future this more honourable form ? Then, when an inscription 
is necessary, the enamelled tablet, with its endless possibilities 
of jewel-like colour, might be used in place of brass or marble. 
Something has already been done by the erection of the beau- 
tiful eastern windows, and the cathedral has been fortunate in 
escaping an eruption of episcopal tombs ; but latterly there has 
been an epidemic of brasses, which makes one fear that the 
artist's work is being forgotten in the temptation to set off an 
epitaph with a display of Latinity. 

Glass in the Transepts. — The great window of the north 
transept is by Clayton and Bell. Mr. Tyrwhitt says of it that it 
"glows with all the fires which a fervid fancy can bestow upon 
the inwards of the Dragon.'' 

The glaring glass in the clerestory of the north and south 
transepts is by Henri and Alfred Gdrente (1854), artists famous 
in their day. It was originally in the great east window (now 
destroyed), and must have thrown the members of the House 
into a stupor when in that prominent position. As it is, the 
clerestory windows are a very inappropriate place for colour, 
violent enough to " scare a chameleon " ; though the glass was 
evidently put there as the least conspicuous position. It might 
now be taken out and buried, on the chance that time and the 
earth may have a mellowing effect. 

The half-window above the vestry in the south transept is 
filled with glass, coloured to look as if it were old, by Clayton 
and Bell, and given in memory of Dr. Liddon. 

The South Transept was originally on the same plan as 
the north, but its aisles have disappeared : that on the west to 



make room for the cloister ; while that on the east is now re- 
presented by the chapel of St. Lucy. Its appearance has also 
been much altered by the division of its southern bay into two 

by J, Park Harrison), 

Stories, which reduces its length, since the lower story is the slype 
or passage that leads from the cloister to the cemetery, and is 


therefore to all intents and purposes outside the church. The 
upper story is reached by steps from the transept floor. The 
whole of this curious structure, which has the appearance of a 
small house built into the transept, is a modem restoration, 
its immediate predecessor having been literally a house where 
dwelt the verger and his family. In earlier times, however, 
there had been some kind of erection here, which was used as 
a sacristy, and of this traces were found by Gilbert Scott which 
led to the present restoration. As these traces, however, con- 
sisted principally of some fragments of a staircase, the present 
Early English restoration is only conjectural. On the whole it 
is tolerable, though the heavy and unnecessary central buttress 
one may well suppose not to be part of the old design. Why 
the slope of this buttress, which stands in the middle of the 
transept, should be so stoutly protected against the weather, it 
is hard to imagine. The carving on the tympanum over the 
door that leads into the slype is stiff and repulsive. Just to 
the right of this door is a holy water stoup, very simply cut 
into the pillar, which proves that this entrance from the slype 
was usual in old times, when the monastic buildings lay on that 
side of the church ; at present, however, the door is commonly 
kept locked. 

The chamber above the slype, representing the old sacristy, 
is now used as a vestry. It is reached from the transept, and 
a staircase in it leads to the gallery above, whence in all pro- 
bability a door led straight into the dormitory of the monaster}\ 
A similar arrangement to this existed at Bristol, which was also 
an Augustinian house ; and there are traces of a door in the 
wall of Canon Sanday's house which further substantiate the 
conjecture. Some direct access to the church from the dormi- 
tory was a great convenience in the days when matins was said 
in the middle of the night. 

The gallery is now used as a kind of museum for any odd 
fragments that are discovered in the precincts. Among them 
is the quaintly carved base of a Norman cross, which before 
the Reformation stood, together with a pulpit, at the west end 
of the nave, near the place now occupied by the fountain. 
The subjects represented are the Fall, Abraham's Sacrifice, 
the Giving of the Law. 

The open triforium directly over the Lyttleton monument in 
this transept is an important relic of the second Saxon church. 


and a good instance of the slight things which sometimes turn 
the scales in antiquarian disputes. Professor Willis had in 1840 
pronounced (as against Dr. Ingram, whose pet theory it was 
that the triforium was the clerestory of Ethelred's church) that 
the triforium must be of Norman design, because no grooves 
could be found for the insertion of glass in the shafts, as would 
be the case if it were Saxon. 

Mr. Harrison accordingly, in December 1891, made a clbse 
examination of the shaft and small arches in the open triforium 
which had struck him as of Saxon character, with the result that 
the grooves for glass were discovered to exist beyond a doubt, 
but so neatly stopped with mortar as previously to have escaped 
notice. They can be clearly discerned inside the arches, by 
anyone with good sight, from the floor of the church. The 
base of the shaft which carries these arches is equally decisive, 
for it is " pudding shaped,'* entirely different from the other 
bases, and most unmistakably Saxon : it also can be seen 
from the floor, but is worth an inspection from the gallery 
over the choir-vestry, whence there is also an impressive view 
of the church. With this exception, the triforia and clerestories 
of the transepts are similar to those of the nave, though Saxon 
tooling has been found on the wall, and there is a break in some 
of the masonry on the angle shaft near the vestry door, which 
possesses a Saxon base. The principal arches of the clerestories 
are not pointed, which proves that the transepts were rebuilt 
earlier than the nave. Two corbels on the east side of the 
transept mark the site of a musicians' gallery which once pro- 
jected beyond the triforium. 

St. Lucy's Chapel in the second bay of the old south 
transept aisle was used as a vestry in the days when the transept 
was devoted to domestic purposes. It must have ruined the 
effect of this part of the church, and formed an extremely in- 
convenient vestry. Now the chapel is used, not very appro- 
priately, as a baptistery ; it contains a font, well designed and 
carved, which was executed in 1882. It is Norman or earlier, 
with the exception of the eastern wall, which was rebuilt in order 
to hold the present beautiful window. This window is of an 
uncommon type ; the three lights, less than half the height of 
the tracery above them, commence considerably below the 
spring of the arch. The tracery, which reminds one of that in 
Dorchester Abbey, a few miles away, is flamboyant in character, 


suggesting the form which the decadence of Gothic architecture 
took in France; only in this case it is a decadence that is 
vigorous as well as graceful 

The chapel recalls the time when King Charles held his 
court in Christ Church, at the time of the Civil War, many 
cavalier knights being buried here. 

Monuments of the South Transept and Chapel. — 
There are the tombs of several prominent royalists in the tran- 
sept as well as in St. Lucy's little chapel, most of which might 
well be spared were it not for their historic interest. That of 
Viscount Grandison, for instance, consists of an urn oh a 
pedestal, altogether huge and hideous; yet Grandison was a 
brave and doubtless a graceful cavalier, who died in Oxford of 
wounds received in the attack on Bristol in 1643. Another 
ugly, big monument is that of Sir E. Littleton, keeper of the 
Great Seal, who took up arms " for the royal majesty, during 
the execrable siege of this city." Sir John Smith is also buried 
here : he " redeemed the banner royal " at the battle of Edge- 
hill, was knighted on the field by the King, and died of his 
wounds in 1644, at the early age of twenty-eight. 

A very odd monument is that to Viscount Brouncker, who 
died in 1645, having been chamberlain to the young Charles, 
then Prince of Wales. A smartly dressed gentleman and his 
wife are represented seated in meditative attitudes, each with an 
elbow on the table, while between their two elbows is propped 
a skull. 

In the tracery of St. Lucy's chapel is to be found the finest 
old glass in the cathedral. It belongs to the year 1330, or 
thereabouts, and enables one to imagine what the church must 
have looked like when glass of this magnificent description 
abounded, and hangings and altar-pieces and wall-paintings, 
hardly less rich, filled every conspicuous position. In the 
uppermost compartment of the tracery is a figure of our Lord 
seated in glory ; below there are angels with censers, and next 
two Augustinian monks in blue and white robes, kneeling with 
outstretched arms ; then come coats of arms, and various 
grotesque beasts, all most richly coloured in ruby and blue and 
green and gold Below, in the principal spaces, are (i) St. 
Martin on horseback giving his coat to the beggar ; (2) the 
martyrdom of St. Thomas k Becket : St. Thomas' head has 
been knocked out by some fanatic, and replaced with white 



glass ; the armour and shields of the knights should be noticed ; 
(3) St. Augustine, who holds a pastoral staff, is teaching his 
monks and others. In the next four spaces are : — The head of 
a king; St. Cuthbert, carrying the head of St. Oswald, and 
wearing a green chasuble; St. Blaise, in a mulberry-coloured 
chasuble ; the head of a queen. The glass in the three main 
lights was destroyed, and then replaced by some of seventeenth 
century work, but this too is now gone, all except a portion of 


the upper part, which shows that the design was architectural 
in character, and the colour that of fog-smitten stone-work. 

The Choir is in four bays with a presbytery ; it is in the 
same style as the rest of the church, with the exception of the 
Perpendicular alterations in the upper part. It was formerly 
filled with heavy, ugly wood-work, and half way up all the pillars 
may be traced the modern stone-work which had to be inserted 
when the stalls and panelling that had encased the pillars were 
removed. Not a wreck of the old wood remains, and the choir 
is now seated with walnut-wood stalls by Farmer and Brindley, 

OXroi^D CyiTHEDl^jlTv 

CAPITALS OF THE CHOIR {from a drawing by J, Park Harrison). 


along which runs a light iron screen, very carefully wrought by 
Skidmore of Birmingham in 187 1. It is copied from Queen 
Eleanor's tomb in Westminster Abbey. The pavement relaid 
in 1 87 1 contains representations of the cardinal virtues, copied 
from the church of the Knights of St. John at Malta. Yet 
there were original artists to be found twenty-five years ago ! 

The pillars of the choir are larger than those of the nave, 
which appear to have been reduced in girth (see p. 54). They 
are (it is now generally admitted) part of Ethelred's church, 
dating from the first decade of the eleventh century ; but their 
bases belong to the Norman restoration, and were probably 
put in by Cricklade. The triforium is also Late Norman, here 
as throughout the church, with the single exception of the one 
window in the south transept 

But it is in the capitals of the choir that the most striking 
evidence of Saxon work in the church lies. Thus they are 
of remarkable interest, besides being very fine specimens of 
stone-carving. If the visitor sits in a stall in the middle of the 
south side of the choir he will have the three most important 
capitals before him, and can study them at leisure. One 
striking feature common to them all is that they bear very 
evident traces of having been worn by the weather. It has 
been found by Mr. Drink water that the stone of which they are 
made is too durable to have been affected by the atmosphere 
while under cover. This proves that they must have been 
in their present position exposed to the driving rains from the 
south, during the long period when the church was in ruins, 
that is to say, before the restoration of the twelfth century. 

Another significant feature which these three capitals have in 
common, not only with each other but with all the others in 
the choir, is that their abaci are extremely thick, just twice as 
thick as those in the transepts and nave ; and thick abaci are 
a mark of early work. 

Their ornamentation is remarkable, partly Saxon and partly 
oriental in character, and quite unlike any Norman work. Sir 
Gilbert Scott himself noticed the latter characteristic of these 
and other capitals in the church. " The foliated ornament," he 
wrote, " assumes a noble character, evidently evincing a study 
of the ancient Greek, which was effected through a Byzantine 
medium." We have already seen, in the History of the Cathe- 
dral, how this Byzantine influence is to be accounted for by 


the fact that Greek clergy flocked to the court of Ethelred's 
brother-in-law Richard ; and further, it must be noted that 
many illuminated MSS. of Saxon date show that Greek orna- 
ment was admired and studied at the time. Professor West- 
wood, in his ^^Lapidarium^^ points out that in Saxon art the 
designs of stone-carving are so completely identical with those 
in the MSS. as to lead us to suppose that the artists of the 
illuminated drawings were also the designers of the architecture. 
So much is this the case that, "the age of a particular MS. 
being ascertained, we are able approximately to determine 
also the age of the carving." Professor Westwood was, in 
fact, among the first to be convinced of the Saxon origin of 
the capitals we are discussing. 

It is worth while to give a few illustrations of this very 
important point. The first capital from the tower on the. north 
side of the choir is ornamented with that curious spuma or 
wave-shaped work which has just the dip and swing of a wave 
of the sea as it curls over before breaking. 

In a Psalter of the beginning of the eleventh century (B. M. 
Har. 2904) is to be found precisely the same vivid conven- 

The second capital is the most curious one in the church, 
and is also the most strikingly Saxon, the stalks issuing from 
pipes or tubes being as characteristic almost of Saxon as 
interlaced work is of Celtic art. 

Standing immediately under this capital, one is able clearly 
to discern the faces on the corner volutes, which have each a 
crown of leaves like one found in the famous tenth century 
" Dunstan " MS. in the British Museum. One of these faces 
is that of a man, very heavy and stupid-looking ; the other that 
of a comely woman. It is not fanciful to suppose that they are 
portraits of the blundering Ethelred and his wife Emma. 

The third capital is decorated with some branching work 
hardly less curious, and above it is a head wearing the unbifur- 
cated mitre, which dropped out of use in the eleventh century. 
Of the three capitals on the south side of the choir, which do 

* Mr. Park Harrison has collected some very interesting drawings from 
various Anglo-Saxon MSS., which afford striking parallels to the ornament 
on these and other capitals in the church. A reproduction of the drawing 
here referred to, and of others eijually important, will be found in his 
**Pre.Norman Date." 


not bear the same signs of weathering, one has branching work, 
and the other two reworked leafage, such as is found also in 
one on the north side of the nave. 

As for the triforium and the rest of the work of the choir, 
it was all so much restored in the twelfth century that one 
cannot find in it any traces of Ethelred's work. 

The pendent roof is one of the most striking features of the 
cathedral, and is worth careful study. Fergusson considers 
this roof to be the most satisfactory attempt ever made to sur- 
mount the great difficulty presented in all fan-tracery by the 
awkward, flat, central space which is left in each bay by the 
four cones of the vault. At Gloucester, King's College Chapel, 
Cambridge, Henry VII.'s Chapel, Westminster, and other 
places, various attempts were made to deceive the eye, and 
hide the unmanageable space; in Henry VII.'s Chapel the 
well-known pendants were boldly introduced with this object. 
None were wholly satisfactory, but, says Fergusson : — 

"Strange as it may appear from its date, the most satis- 
factory roof of this class is that erected by Cardinal Wolsey in 
the beginning of the sixteenth century [this is a mistake, the 
roof having been built some time before] over the choir of 
Oxford Cathedral. In this instance the pendants are thrust so 
far forward, and made so important, that the central part of the 
roof is practically quadripartite. The remaining difficulty was 
obviated by abandoning the circular, horizontal outline of true 
fan-tracery, and adopting a polygonal form instead. As the 
whole is done in a constructive manner and with appropriate 
detail, this roof, except in size, is one of the best and most 
remarkable ever executed." 

Fan-tracery is a peculiarly English feature, and was invented, 
according to Fergusson, in order to get rid of the endless 
repetition of inverted pyramids which earlier vaulting produced. 
He therefore considers it an improvement on the vaulting of 
tlitf tarly English and Decorated periods ; and, as he thinks 
tht* roof of Christ Church Cathedral to be the best example of 
fan-trrLcery, he comes near to pronouncing it the finest ceiling 
in the world. 

It certainly must strike every observer as possessing excep- 
tional beauty. At once rich and light, it yet accords wonder- 
fully with the homely I^orman work that it crowns, and gives 
a happy finish to the most important part of the cathedral. 



Even the lantern pendants seem more graceful than is usually 
the case with those strange architectural solecisms. Mr. Ruskin 
calls the roof " true Tudor grotesque, inventively constructive, 
delicately carved, summing the builder's skill in the fifteenth 

The roof is certainly too early in design to have been built by 


Wolsey, as was. supposed. But there are traces in the work 
which {-have led some antiquaries to suppose that, though 
begun about 1480, its western bay may not have been finished 
till the Cardinal's time, or even till the end of Henry's reign. 
The head on the large corbel over the Dean's stall certainly 


wears a Tudor crown, and is bearded. This would lead one to 
suppose it to be a likeness of Henry VIII. : furthermore, the 
face is broad but emaciated, with the beard straggling; and 
we learn from historians that the King did let his beard grow 
longer at the end of his life, when he was worn and ill, and 
expressed more penitence for his many misdeeds than he is 
generally given credit for. The woman's head on the corbel 
opposite, also wearing a Tudor crown, would probably be the 
k^t of his wives, Katherine Parr. The face wears the happy 
expression of one delivered from great anxiety. 

In the arched space nearly above these heads are four 
canopied figures : on the north, St. Peter with his keys, and St. 
Mary Magdalen (suggestive of Wolsey's own college in 
Oxford) ; on the south St. Luke, over his bull (possibly because 
of the connection of St. Frideswide's with the healing art), and 
St. Catherine, holding the remains of a sword in her right 
hand, and retaining a fragment of the wheel in her left. St. 
Katherine will be found in the same attitude in a painted 
window of the Latin Chapel. The central bosses of the roof 
are interesting. Over the altar is the head of our Lord, sur- 
rounded by an aureole, the beard twisted into three points : in 
the next bay is the Madonna and Child, and next a graceful 
figure, identified as St. Frideswide by the curious sceptre with 
heavy foliage at the end, which she is again represented with in 
the middle window of the Latin Chapel. An angel is on either 
side of this figure. In the next bay is an archbishop (Augus- 
tine ?) with his cross ; and on the last a bishop (perhaps 
Birinus), holding his pastoral staff and supported by two 
figures which may be chaplains or acolytes. 

The clerestory of the choir was converted into Perpendicular 
at the time when the roof was vaulted. The old walls were 
simply covered with panelling, and the old windows enlarged 
into Perpendicular ones. 

The Hast End, now one of the most characteristic features 
of the cathedral, is the work of Sir G. Gilbert Scott, and is 
supposed to be a reproduction of the original twelfth century 
design : for enough fragments of the old work were said to 
remain on the walls to leave no doubt as to its original plan. 
Of course the detail has the usual machine-made look of 
modern carving; but it is something to have recovered the 
original effect, especially as the Decorated window which it has 


replaced had been spoilt in the seventeenth century, when it 
was altered from its original five lights to three. The design, 
says Mr. J. H. Parker, is very rare in England, and not common 
anywhere. It consists of a large wheel-window, with an inter- 
secting arcade under it, and two round-headed windows below : 
the wheel-window is set in a large round arch that seems to 
rest on two stout pillars. This round window is an imitation 
of an old one in Canterbury Cathedral. The ^rcade has a 
truer and less mechanical look than most of the restored work. 
The whole effect of the East End is excellent ; dignified and 
varied, it has something of that refined homeliness which is so 
strong a characteristic of the cathedral. The stained glass in 
the windows by Clayton and Bell is not at all unpleasing when 
seen from a distance. It is in character with the stone-work, 
and only just fails to be really fine in colour. Dr. Liddon and 
Sir John Mowbray were the donors of the glass. 

It was formerly thought that the Norman presbytery « was 
part of the original choir, and therefore presumably the earliest 
portion of the church ; but Mr. Harrison gives the following 
technical reasons for holding that it was an addition to an older 
building with an apse, built by Ethelred ;— 

I. The arches of the two side windows cut through string 
courses which run eastwards on both sides of the presbytery, 
being, in fact, continuations of the abaci proper of the half- 
capitals at that end of the choir. 2. If the east windows were 
designed from fragments of previously existing Norman ones, 
these cannot have been of the same date as the choir arches. 
The mouldings are later, and the old bases of the windows still 
in the east wall are clearly of transitional character, differing 
essentially from those belonging to corner shafts in the east 
aisles of the tAnsepts. 3. The east walls of the choir aisles, 
which had been heightened to carry the vaulting, abut against 
and cover the jambs of the two side windows of the presby- 
tery on the outside, a thing which could not have happened 
had the presbytery and choir aisles formed part of the same 

The Reredos, an anonymous gift, erected in 1881 in red 
Dumfries sandstone, is a pleasant contrast to the chilly erec- 
tions which now deface so many of our cathedrals. It has 
been said to be " perhaps the most exquisite piece of modern 
workmanship in Oxford," though this would not necessarily be 


very high praise. But, though a little too small for its position, 
a little wanting in breadth and overstrained in detail, it is a 
50und and sincere piece of work. Nor can we agree with the 
•criticism which says that nothing can make it look like part of 
the structure, for this is the fault of the structure in its present 
condition ; when the old colouring is revived, the reredos will 
certainly not be too rich for it, and there is plenty of late 
Cjothic in the choir to harmonise with its carving. Mr. Bodley 
designed it, 'and Mr. Brindley was the sculptor of the figures. 
They are of marble (rosso antico), and are excellent both in 
feeling and execution. The central panel represents the Cruci- 
fixion, with Our Lady and St. John at the foot of the cross, and 
Jerusalem in the background. In the niches on the left are 
St. Michael in armour, and St. Stephen in a dalmatic ; on the 
right, St. Augustine, in cope and mitre, and a very feminine 
looking St. Gabriel Above the niches are carved and gilt 
shields bearing the emblems of the Passion. The warm effect 
of the whole is heightened by two handsome, green curtains on 
•either side. The inscription under the crucifix is Per crucem 
tuam libera nos Domine, 

The High Altar, of cedar wood, is less successful. Its 
-eight clumsy legs, which are the only part visible, are covered 
with unpleasant, geometrical carving, most inappropriately ac- 
centuated by gilding : the result is that an impression of some 
strange, many-legged insect fastens on one in entering the church, 
and is hard to dislodge. One could wish that the altar were 
panelled, or frontals used to cover the legs. 

The two silver-gilt candlesticks are extremely fine examples 
•of seventeenth century plate ; they are rather squat in shape, 
with large bases richly embossed. The alms-dish which stands 
over the credence is also silver-gilt of the same date, magnifi- 
cently embossed. These were given at the Restoration, and 
bear the date 1 66 1-2. The chalices, patens, and flagons have 
been made to match them in more recent times. The altar 
books are good specimens of binding in velvet and precious 
metal. They were given in 1638 by Canon Henry King. On 
the fly-leaf of each book is a curious inscription in Latin, of 
which the following is a translation: — "Bequeathed to the 
Ohurch of Christ, Oxford. A brand snatched from the burning, 
1647, by the zealous care of R. Gardiner, Canon of Ch. Ch., 
but displaced from his rightful position by the greed of his 


times." These books were in use when Charles I. worshipped 
in the cathedral during the civil war. 

The lectern, of ancient, pale brass enriched with filigree 
work, and garnished with amethyst, cornelian, and agate stones, 
is the gift of two former censors of the House, the Rev. T. 
Vere Bayne and . the Rev. H. L. Thompson. The stem, sur- 
mounted by a globe and a good conventional eagle, bears the 
figures of St. Frideswide, Cardinal Wolsey, and Bishop King. 
At the base are three lions bearing the arms of the Priory, the 
College, and the University. The bible bears the date 1674. 
A beautifully illuminated lectionary on vellum, a relic of 
Cardinal Wolsey, and used by him in this church, can be seen 
in the Christ Church library. 

The Bishop's Throne (in Italian walnut) is a not very inspired 
work of Messrs. Farmer and Brindley. It was put up as a 
memorial to Bishop Wilberforce, at a cost of ;^iooo, and has 
a medallion of the Bishop with mitre and pastoral staff at the 

The South Choir Aisle is of an earlier period than the 
nave and transept aisles, the walls being, it is thought, of 
Ethelred's time. A stone bench runs along its south side, 
adding to its bright and pleasant appearance. The southern 
windows were rebuilt by Scott in Norman style of a different 
character to the window containing Bishop King's portrait 
which has its original capitals and bases. The corbels 
which carry the vault are carved into heads of men and 
baboons : the vaulting ribs have been unmistakably fitted on 
to the earlier Norman work. The Decorated east window, 
which, owing to the Burne Jones glass, is such a prominent 
feature of the cathedral, is restored, but there is a good 
deal of the original ball-flower moulding around it. At the 
side is a late Perpendicular piscina, with bold, square flowers 
cut on the jambs ; and on the pillars opposite there are traces 
of paintings, which must have been very bright-coloured once, 
and would very likely be so still, had it not been for Brian 
Duppa's wood-work. 

Monuments. — There is an old brass on the wall, near tlic 
eastern end, to Stephen Pence, who died in 1587, Near thrs 
is a not very pleasing life-size medallion of Prince Leojjold in 
statuary marble set in Sicilian marble; it was sculptured by 
Mr. T. Williamson of Esher. The bronze tablet, with thf^ — 



portrait in relief of Dr. Mackarness, the late Bishop, is very- 
much better both in colour and design. Further west another 
medallion in statuary marble,* set in giallo antico, commemorates 
Sarah Acland, the wife of Sir Henry Acland, who is a student 
of the House, and Regius Professor of Medicine in the 
University; the Sarah Acland Home for Nurses keeps her 
pious memory fresh in Oxford. 

The late Tudor monument to the first Bishop of Oxford, 
Robert King^ has been removed from its former place under 
his window to the bay between the aisle and St. Lucy's Chapel, 
where it now forms a sort of small screen to the little chapel. 
Bishop King died in 1577 ; his tomb is recessed, canopied, 
and covered with shallow panel-work in minute divisions, but 
without any effigy, sculptured or incised. Though it is among 
the last works of the mediaeval school of monumental architec- 
ture, it is still graceful and restrained; and indeed a great 
contrast to the new style of monument which came in a few 
years later. Inscription : — Hie jaeet Robertus King saere theo- 
logie Professor et primus Efus Oxon. qui obiit quarto die Decem- 
bris Anno {Domini M,D, LVII). 

Crossing to the north side of the choir, one reaches the 
beautiful cluster of chapels which add so much to the grace of 
the cathedral, relieving it of any grimness of aspect which its 
unbroken array of massive columns might otherwise have 
produced, and by their unaffected dissimilarity enhancing at once 
its historical interest and its visible charm. Here the eye 
wanders among pillars and arches which branch away in so 
many directions that the grandest churches can scarcely give 
more thoroughly the idea of infinity. And here one stands on 
the site of St. Frideswide's first little church, with the very 
arches that she had built for her, still standing in all their 
primitive simplicity. These three aisles, and the south aisle on 
the opposite side of the choir, are indeed eloquent of the un- 
pretentious, lasting work that brave women have done for 
humanity : the latter has become, through its window, sacred 
to the memory of St. Catherine, whose own Latin Chapel is 
now for the same reason inseparably connected with St. 
Frideswide. St. Cecilia looks down upon the aisle next the 
choir, and the chapel of Our Lady is separated from it only by the 
monument of the Saxon maiden, while St. Lucy has given her 
name to the fifth and smallest of these eastern chapels. Thus 


has this great society of learned men taken pleasure in doing 
honour to the good women of Christendom. 

The North Choir Aisle and the two aisles which adjoin 
it were lengthened one bay by the gradual inclusion of the 
eastern aisle of the transept. A heavy pier has been left with 
no attempt at decoration on the transept side but with a 
cluster of shafts on the side facing east ; and the next pier to 
the north has been similarly treated. It will be noticed that 
the arches over these western bays of the north choir aisle and 
Lady Chapel, being the arches of the old transept aisle, are ex- 
tremely massive ; unlike anything else in the church, except the 
one remaining arch, is the corresponding south transept aisle (now 
St. Lucy's Chapel) : these are therefore thought to be unrestored 
parts of Ethelred's works. The fact that Norman vaulting 
shafts have evidently been inserted into the pier walls of the 
aisles point also to the conclusion that the aisle was erected at 
a date when vaulting shafts were not in use. 

At the east end there is a small arch, extremely rough, its 
ragstone voussoirs patched in one part with a block of modern 
stone. A similar arch is to be seen in the wall of the next 
(Lady) Chapel, and between these two are traces of another. 
These three arches led to one of the most interesting archi- 
tectural discoveries of recent years ; and one can hardly look 
at them unmoved, remembering that they form part of the 
original church which was built by St. Frideswide and her 
father. They were indeed the three " chancel arches " (if one 
may use the expression) which led into the three apses, the 
discovery of which we have described in our chapter on the 
exterior of the cathedral. 

It was not till 1 888 that the plaster was removed from the walls, 
and these arches exposed to view. It was then obvious that they 
had been part of a permanent church, and not merely temporary 
doorways for the convenience of Norman masons. Rough as 
they seem, to the expert they bear marks of care and repair, 
of having been, in fact, preserved as a specially venerated part 
of the church. As an instance of this, Mr. Park Harrison 
points out that one of the supporting stones is quite two feet 
long (longer than any other in the cathedral), and has Nor- 
man tooling upon it. It can scarcely be doubted, he says, 
that this was introduced to support the springing-stones of the 
arch, for there are clear signs that there had been some settle- 


ment. The head of the archways, too, had been plastered. 
In both archways there is an impost (a projection, that is, from 
which the arch springs), and this impost is continued through 
the thickness of the wall. It will be noticed that the jambs of 
these arches go more than two feet below the level of the floor, 
which is another sign of their early date. Within the apse that 
was reached through the southernmost archway lay the body of 
St. Frideswide in its first resting-place, and for long this part 
seems to have been held in special veneration, until the first 
translation in i i8o, when the relics of " The Lady " were moved 
into a more noted place in the church, and this apse doubtless 
abandoned like the other two. Somewhere here the relics 
were then placed (as they lie to-day in the ground beneath 
this chapel), but the first monument has been lost. Of the 
second monument, which also was lost but is found again, it 
is now the place to speak. But, first, it may be well to explain 
that what is usually called the shrine of St. Frideswide is really 
the marble monument, or base, upon which the shrine itself 
formerly rested. In the Middle Ages, relics (with the two 
English exceptions of Westminster and St. Albans) were pre- 
served in a shrine, usually of metal, which was enclosed in a 
coffer ox feretrum. 

The Shrine of St. Frideswide. — Foremost in historical 
interest, as well as in actual beauty, are the remains of the 
marble monument which have recently been put together and 
set up in the easternmost arch between the Lady Chapel and the 
north choir aisle. The coffer or shrine, which was made for 
the translation in 1289 (its base being therefore the most 
ancient monument in the cathedral), was knocked to pieces 
at the Reformation (1538), and, being of wood, must have 
entirely perished. But gradually, and from different places, 
fragments of the base were brought together : first, several 
pieces of delicately carved marble were discovered in the 
sides of a square well in the yard south-west of the 
cathedral ; then a part of the plinth on the south side was 
found to be in use as a step, luckily with the carved portion 
turned inwards ; next, a spandrel was detected by Mr. Francis, 
the head verger, in the wall of the cemetery ; and last of all 
a piece of the plinth was found in a wall in Tom Quad. 
Though some portions are still wanting, it is not impossible 
that more may yet be found. 


As the monument stands now, it cannot, of course, impress 
one as it would have done in its perfect state, with the rich super- 
structure crowning it : especially as the restored shafts are 
merely square stone supports of the clumsiest description, so 
studiously careful has the restorer been not to confuse them 
with the original work. One cannot but applaud this con- 
scientious spirit (would, indeed, that it had been adopted 
earlier !), but at the same time the modern supports have been 
made quite unnecessarily hideous. Still, though the base of 
St. Frideswide's shrine is only a collection of fragments, 
these fragments are of remarkable beauty and interest. It is of 
Forest marble, measuring seven feet by three and a half ; and 
consists of an arcade of two richly cusped arches at the 
sides and one at each end. On the top of this was fixed the 
feretrum^ containing the jewelled casket that held the relics them- 
selves. The spandrels are filled with wonderfully carved foliage, 
unusually naturalistic, and preserving still the traces of colour 
and gilding to remind one of its former glories. The plants have 
been identified by Mr. Druce of High Street, Ihe well-known 
Oxford botanist. On the south side there is maple in the 
central spandrel, with a wreath of what is probably crow's-foot 
in a boss below : the two side spandrels contain columbine 
and the greater celandine. On the north side the foliage is 
mostly oak, with acorns and numerous empty cups.; sycamore 
and ivy filling the adjoining spandrels. At the east etd one of 
the spandrels contains vine leaves and grapes, the other fig- 
leaves, but without the fruit ; the cusp under the vine has a 
leaf which may be that of hog-leaf. At the west end there is 
hawthorn and bryony. The choice of all this foliage was 
doubtless made for symbolical reasons, referring first to St. 
Frideswide's life in the oak woods near Abingdon, and next to 
her care for the sick and suffering at Thornberrie (now Binsey). 
And in this connection it is pleasant to think that the sculptor^ 
with tender fancy, chose plants which were famous for their 
healing virtue. 

The foliage at the angles takes the form of pastoral staves ; 
and the intermediate spandrels at the sides have women's 
heads carved in the centre. The plinth, which has been set 
on a chamfered base and step of white stone, is ornamented 
with a series of quatrefoils, containing the head of a bishop at 
the north-west corner, and the heads of queens on the south 



side. Foliage, instead of a head, occupies the centre and end 
panels on the sides ; and very delicate foliage is worked on a 
little roll moulding extant at two of the angles. 

Here is an account of the destruction of the shrine, and the 
treatment of its relics, in the words of Dean Liddell ^ : — 

"It is a strange story. It is well known that, before the 
Reformation, the Church of St. Frideswide and her shrine 
enjoyed a high reputation as a place of sanctity. Privileges were 
conceded to it by royal authority. Miracles were believed to 
be wrought by a virtue attaching to it ; pilgrims from all parts 
resorted to it, — among the number we find the name of Queen 
Catherine of Aragon, whose visit to the shrine shows the 
veneration in which it was held. Twice a year the Vice- 
Chancellor and principal members of the University visited the 
church in solemn procession, being considered (as we are told) 
the * Mother Church of University and town, — there to pray, 
preach, and offer oblations at her shrine.' 

" These practices and privileges not unnaturally seemed to 
the zealous Reformers of those times to call for summary 
interference. The old superstitions, which certainly gave rise 
to many abuses, must, they thought, be abated at once; 
nothing but strong measures would avail to withdraw the minds 
of the people, nurtured as they were in absolute belief in these 
superstitions, from belief in them. Accordingly, we cannot be 
surprised to find that this famous shrine was doomed to 
destruction, and was actually destroyed. When this happened 
it is not easy to determine, — probably in the time of Henry 
VIII. The fragments were used either at the time, or not long 
afterwards, to form part of the walls of a common well ; and 
there we found them. The reliques of the Saint, however, were 
rescued by some zealous votaries, and carefully preserved in 
hope of better times. Meantime Catherine (the wife of Peter 
Martyr, a foreign Protestant theologian of high repute, who had 
been appointed Regius Professor of Theology here) died, and 
was buried near the place lately occupied by the shrine. Over 
her grave sermons were preached, contrasting the pious zeal of 
the German Protestant with the superstitious practices that had 
tarnished the simplicity of the Saxon Saint. Then came 
another change. The Roman Church under Mary Tudor re- 

^ St. Frideswide: Two sermons preached in the Cathedral Church of 
Christ in Oxford, by H. G. Liddell, Dean of Christ Church, pp. 21-24. 


covered a brief supremacy. The body of Peter Martyr^s wife 
was (one regrets to learn), by order of Cardinal Pole, contemptu- 
ously cast out of the church, and the remains of St. Frideswide, 
preserved, as I have said, by the piety of her devotees, were 
restored to their former resting-place. But it does not appear 
that any attempt was made to restore the shrine. Party zeal 
still prevpled. Angry contests continued between the adherents 
of the two parties even after the accession of Elizabeth. 

" In consequence, the Queen, soon after her accession, 
ordered Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Grindal, Bishop 
of London, to look into this and other matters in dispute 
between the adherents of the Roman Church and those of the 
Reformed Faith ; and these eminent ecclesiastics commissioned 
the authorities of this House to remove the scandal that had 
been caused by the inhuman treatment of Catherine Martyr's 
body. The matter was conducted by James Calfhill, lately 
appointed to a stall in this church, and then acting as sub- 
dean. In a letter to Bishop Grindal he gives an account of 
the ceremony that took place. He was resolved, if we may 
judge from his action, not to give a triumph to either party. 
On Jan. i ith, 1561, O.S., the bones of the Protestant Catherine 
and the Catholic St. Frideswide were put together, so inter- 
mingled that they could not be distinguished, and then placed 
together in the same tomb. This solution of the difficulty 
could not have been displeasing to the great Queen, who had 
been consistently endeavouring rather to win over her oppo- 
nents by conciliation than to crush them by persecution. We 
may well suppose that she approved of the act of our Dean and 
Chapter. Death is the great reconciler ; enmities should, at all 
events, be buried with the dead." 

Calfhill, the sub-dean, wrote two epigrams on the burial of 
Catherine Martyr with St. Frideswide. The first ends thus : 
Ergo facessant hinc rabida impietas^ inde super stitio ; the other 
thus : Nunc coeant pietas atque superstitio. Perhaps these 
apparently contradictory sentiments led Isaac Disraeli (in his 
account of this curious transaction, which he selects in his 
" Amenities of Literature " as an illustration of the mutability of 
time) to remark that Calfhill " seems to have been at once a 
Catholic and a Reformer." Sanders the Jesuit was indignant at 
the " impious epithet," which he says was added, hicjacet religio 
cum superstitione \ "although," says old Fuller, "the words 


being capable of a favourable sense on his side, he need not 
have been so angry." 

The exact spot where the bones of The l^dy now rest is 
supposed to be marked by a brass on the floor of the Lady 
Chapel, lately placed there by Canon Bright. But we can only 
be certain that, somewhere in this part of the church, "the 
married nun and the virgin saint," to use Froude's words, 
" were buried together, and the dust of the two still remains 
under the pavement inextricably blended." 

The Lady Chapel, which is the aisle next to the north 
choir aisle, is sometimes called " the Dormitory," because many 
of the deans are buried here : the word being a literal trans- 
lation of the Greek coemeterium (sleeping-place), applied to the 
catacombs of Rome. It was enlarged, with the Early English 
pillars and vaulting of the period, in the thirteenth century. 
The shafts are filleted, and the capitals carved in the character- 
istic curling foliage. It owes its position possibly to the 
original dedication of the eighth century church; though the 
Elder Lady Chapel of Bristol Cathedral, another Augustinian 
house, is similarly situated. Its eastern wall proves that it 
must have already existed long before the thirteenth century. 
The most casual observer will also be struck by the ingenuous 
clumsiness with which it has been patched together. There is 
a fine Decorated four-centred window at the East End, restored 
to its present condition from the mean two-light window that the 
seventeenth century had made of it : underneath, at the side of 
the blocked-up Saxon doorway, is a once richly coloured piscina, 
the outer moulding much damaged. The roof and arches of 
the second bay from the east bears many traces of colouring, 
which show among other things that the capitals were sJl 
painted green alike, the abaci red, and the ribs of the vault 
and arches red, green, and perhaps other colours. The figures 
of angels can be made out on the roof, a swinging censer being 
particularly clear. A glance from here at the high altar makes 
one realise how much more bright and strong the old colour 
was, and is indeed even now, than the modern. This decoration 
proves that in the second bay stood something of particular 
importance. It is generally agreed now that this was not the 
shrine of St Frideswide but the altar of Our Lady, for shrines 
were placed behind and not before the altars. Such an arrange- 
ment would leave the eastern bay of the chapel free for the 


two shrines, the large one (commonly called the " Watching 
Chamber ") and the small one recently discovered and placed 
opposite to it under the south-east arch. The fact that this 
arch is also coloured, and is the only other part which is thus 
treated, goes to prove that the small shrine did originally stand 
where it now is. Another sign is that the pillar nearest to the 
east end of it has been cut away, evidently to allow of a free 
passage round the shrine. 

The Lady Chapel is divided from the Latin Chapel by four 
arches. Of these the first, being part of the original transept 
aisle, is very plain and massive, without mouldings and of one 
order ; it springs from a square pier with shafts at the corners, 
and has an extremely broad soffit. It is almost beyond doubt 
part of Ethelred's church, and proves that the transept was 
finished early. The second arch is Early English, cut irregu- 
larly through the wall, which bears traces of a round arch above 
it. The first of the four arches which separate this chapel 
from the north choir aisle is similar to the one just described. 
The rest are very obtuse ; for the two eastern bays of the Lady 
Chapel are two feet wider than the others, perhaps in order to 
increase the accommodation for worshippers at the shrine of 
St. Frideswide. 

The "Watching Chamber." — Next in interest to the 
" shrine," and far more imposing in appearance, is the large tomb 
or watching chamber under the easternmost arch between the 
Lady Chapel and the Latin Chapel. Its real nature is still a 
matter of dispute : some maintaining it to have been used as a 
chantry chapel for the welfare of those who were buried below ; 
others that it served as a " watching chamber " to protect the 
gold and jewels which hung about the shrine of St. Frideswide. 
But there is much likelihood that is was built for the new 
shrine of St. Frideswide, when the growing taste for elaboration 
in architecture tired of the comparative simplicity of the old 
one. If this be the case, the " watching chamber " would be 
in reality the third and last monument of St. Frideswide, the 
second being that already described, while of the first (that 
made for the Translation of 1180) no trace remains. The 
feretrum would have been removed from its position on the 
second monument, and placed within the little wooden chapel 
of the chamber. 

Most elaborately carved and crocketed, the "watching 


chamber" is a beautiful example of full-blown Perpendicular 
workmanship ; " most lovely English work, both of heart and 
hand," according to Mr. Ruskin. It consists of four stories, the 
two lower, in stone, forming an altar tomb and canopy, and 
the two upper in wood. A door from the Latin Chapel leads 
one up a small and well-worn stone staircase into the interior 
of the little upper chapel, which is now a rough wooden room. 
Its extreme roughness suggests that it was once panelled and 
otherwise adorned, while there are marks at its east end, which 
may be the site of an altar, or of th^feretrum itself. 

The " watching chamber " belongs to the turn of the fifteenth 
century, and may have been erected in 1 500, under the patron- 
age of Archbishop Morton, the inventor of " Morton's fork," 
who died in that year, having been Chancellor of the University, 
and a great benefactor of it. The stone altar-tomb is of rather 
earlier date than the wooden superstructure, and bears the matrices 
of two brasses, from which one can make out enough of the 
horned head-dress of the female figure to settle the costume as 
one that remained in fashion till about 1480. 

In 1889 Mr. Park Harrison explored the interior of the 
tomb which forms the lower portion of the "watching 
chamber." Entrance was effected by the removal of two steps 
of the staircase which leads into the Latin Chapel, and the 
whole space beneath the stone slab was found to be packed 
with carved stones and rubble. The pretty battlemented 
coping, which is now happily placed on the sill behind the 
altar of the Latin Chapel, was thus found ; and also a pillar 
piscina of Norman date, and a fine Early English piscina, with 
two trefoiled arches, divided by a slender shaft with foliated 
cap, and profusely enriched with the tooth ornament. This 
latter find can now be seen lying on the slab itself. 

By an accident it was discovered that what seemed to be the 
floor of this tomb was really the ceiling of a vault beneath. 
The pavement was opened in the Latin Chapel just outside 
the tomb, and steps were found which led to the vault through 
a flat four-centred doorway. In the vault was a single oak 
coffin, widest at the head and tapering in a straight line to the 
foot, like the stone coffins of an earlier period. It was ap- 
parently of fifteenth century date, and contained a body closely 
swathed in cerecloth ; but after the coffin was opened the dust 
within the cerecloth rapidly subsided. The body was pro- 



nounced by experts to be that of a woman about five feet six 
inches in height, and was probably that of the lady in the mitred 
head-dress whose brass can be traced on the altar-tomb. 

Monuments in the Lady Chapel. — In the bay to the 
west of the "watching chamber" is the tomb of Elizabeth^ 
Lady Montacute^ who gave to the Priory the large field now 
known as the Christ Church Meadow, in order to maintain 
two priests for her chantry in the Lady Chapel. There seems 
to be no grourid for the statement that she built the Latin 
Chapel; in her foundation-deed she expressly directs the 
masses and other offices to be said " within the chapel of the 
Blessed Mary," and, so far from her bequest proving sufficient 
to build a new chapel, it was soon found inadequate for the 


maintenance of the two chantry priests. Lady Montacute was 
the daughter of Sir Peter de Montfort, and was married first 
to William de Montacute, by whom she had four sons and 
six daughters, and afterwards to Thomas de Furnival. Her 
monument consists of a high tomb, the sides of which are 
divided into three panelled compartments. In these compart- 
ments are little statuettes of her children, and her own effigy 
rests on the top ; at the head and foot of the tomb are quatre- 
foiled compartments containing sacred symbols and figures. It 
is very beautiful, and of great interest as showing many speci- 
mens of the costume of the period ; but one can hardly imagine 
what its splendour must have been when the rich hues, with 


which it is painted in every part, were fresh. The colours 
mentioned in the following learned description by Mr M. H. 
Bloxham have long tended to monochrome, and the hand of 
the mutilator has been unusually painstaking and systematic. 

" The head of the effigy reposes on a double cushion, and is 
supported on each side by a small figure of an angel in an alb ; 
these albs are loose, and not girded round the waist. The 
heads of these figures are defaced, and they are otherwise 
much mutilated. She is represented with her neclf bare, her 
hair disposed and confined on each side, the face within a 
jewelled caul of network; over the forehead is worn a veil, 
and over this is a rich cap or plaited head-dress with n^bul^ 
folds, with a tippet attached to it and falling down behind. 
Her body-dress consists of a robe or sleeveless gown, fastened 
in front downwards to below the waist by a row of ornamented 
buttons. The full skirts of the gown are tastefully disposed, 
but not so much so as we sometimes find on effigies of the four- 
teenth century. The gown is of a red colour, flowered with 
yellow and green, and at each side of the waist is an opening, 
within which is disclosed the inner vest, of which the close- 
fitting sleeves of the arms, extending to the wrists, form part ; 
this is painted of a different colour and in a different pattern 
to the gown. This was probably the corset worn beneath the 
open super-tunic. The gown is flounced at the skirts by a 
broad white border, and round the side openings, and along 
the border of the top of the gown, is a rich border of leaves. 
The hands, which are bare, are joined on the breast in a devo- 
tional attitude. Over the gown or super-tunic is worn the 
mantle, fastened together in front of the breast by a large and 
rich lozenge-shaped morse, raised in high relief. The mantle, 
of a buff colour, is covered all over with rondeaux or roundels 
connected together by small bands, whilst in the intermediate 
spaces zx^fleur de lis : all these are of raised work, and deserve 
minute examination. They are apparently not executed by 
means of the chisel, but formed in some hard paste or com- 
position \gess6\ laid upon the sculptured stone and impressed 
with a stamp. The feet of the effigy appear from beneath the 
skirts of the gown in black shoes, and rest against a dog." 

Of the statuettes on each side of Lady Montacute's tomb, 
which are each a foot and a half high, Mr Bloxham says : — 
**The first and easternmost of these, on the north side, is the 


most puzzling and difficult of all to describe, as regards the 
costume, and the more so from the mutilated state in which 
it now appears. It is that of a male, who is habited in a red 
cloak, the borders of which are jagged. This is buttoned in 
front to the waist by lozenge-shaped morses, and may have 
been the garment called the Courtepye, and discloses a short 
white tunic or vest, plaited in vertical folds, with a bawdrick 
round the body at the hips." 

** Next to this is the effigy in relief of an abbess, in a long 
loose white gown or robe, a black mantle over, connected in 
front of the breast by a chain, with a tippet of the same colour. 
The head has been destroyed, but remains of the plaited 
wimple which covered the neck in front are visible, as also of 
the white veil on each shoulder. The pastoral staff appears on 
the left side, but the crook is gone. 

"Two daughters of Lady Montacute were in succession 
Abbess of Barking, in Essex, and so, next to the last figure is 
another abbess similarly dressed, with the exception that the 
left sleeve of the gown, which is large and wide, is seen, as well 
as the close sleeve of the inner robe. Sculptured figures of 
abbesses, especially of this period, are extremely rare. 

" The next figure is that of a female, in a green high-bodied 
gown or robe, with small pocket-holes in front and sleeves 
reaching only to the elbows. The fifth figure is also that of a 
female, in a white robe or gown, with close sleeves, close fitting 
to the waist, where it is belted round by a narrow girdle, and 
thence falls in loose folds to the feet; over this is a black 
mantle. There are also indications of a plaited wimple about 
the neck, but the head of this, as of the other effigies, has been 

"On the south side, the easternmost figure, of which the 
mere torso remains, is that of a male in a doublet, jagged at 
the skirts, and buttoned down in front from the neck to the 
skirts, with close sleeves buttoned from the elbows to the 
wrists, — manicae botonatae^ with a bawdrick round the hips, 
and buckled on the right side.- From the bawdrick on the 
left side the gipciere is suspended. This much mutilated 
effigy presents a good specimen of the early doublet. 

" Next to it is the figure of a male, in a long red coat or 
gown, the toga talaris^ with a cloak over, buttoned in front 
downwards from the neck as far as the third button, from 


whence it is open to the skirts. This dress, in the phrase of 
the fourteenth century, would be described as cota et cloca. In 
the right hand is held a purse. 

" Next to this is the figure of a Bishop, intended possibly to 
represent Simon, Bishop of Ely, 133 7- 1344, one of the sons 
of Lady Montacute. He appears in his episcopal vestments, 
a white alb, with the apparel in front of the skirt, a black 
dalmatica fringed and open at the sides, and a chocolate- 
coloured chesible, with orfreys round the border and disposed 
in front pall-wise. The parures or apparels of the amice give 
it a stiff and collar-like appearance. The head of this effigy 
has been destroyed, and the outline of the mitre is only visible. 
The pastoral staff has been destroyed, with the exception of the 
pointed ferrule with which it was shod. It was, however, held 
by the left hand. The maniple is suspended from the left 
arm, but no traces of the stole are visible. In more than one 
instance we may notice on episcopal effigies the absence of 
either the tunic or dalmatica, and sometimes of the stole. 

"The fourth figure is that of a lady in a gown or robe 
buttoned down in front from the breast to the waist, and with 
sleeves reaching only to the elbows, from whence depend long 
white liripipes or false hanging sleeves ; small pocket holes are 
visible in front. From beneath this gown or super- tunic the 
loose skirts of the under robe, of which also the close-fitting, 
sleeves are visible, appear. Behind this figure are the remains 
of a mantle. The fifth and last figure is also that of a female 
in a gown or super-tunic, close-fitting, and buttoned in front to 
the waist." 

The quatrefoiled compartments at the ends of the tomb are 
particularly good : they contain, — at the head, the Blessed Virgin 
and Child, between a winged figure at a desk and an eagle, 
which are the symbols of St. Matthew and St. John theEvangelist^ 
— at the foot, the symbols of SS. Mark and Luke, and between 
them a woman in gown and mantle with long flowing hair, 
probably St. Mary Magdalene. The shields in the panels are 
blazoned with the arms of Montacute, Furnival, and Montfort. 

On a pillar near Lady Montacute's tomb there are two 
brasses ; one bearing a graceful kneeling figure of Johan^ 
Bishop filii Geo. Bishops who died March 23rd, 1588; the 
other of Thomas Thornton, who died August 17th, 1613. 

The next tomb to the of Lady Montacute is that of a 



Prior, supposed to be Alexander de Sutton^ prior from 1294 to 
1 3 16. It used to be called Guimond's tomb, and Prior Philip*s, 
but it cannot, of course, be of their time : for the beautiful 
canopy, supported by Purbeck shafts with vine-leaf capitals, 
and powdered with ball-flower without, and groined within, as 
well as the figure beneath it, are Decorated, and belong to the 
reign of Edward I., about a hundred and fifty years later than 
Guimond's death in 1141. There were formerly figures at the 
angles, of which one on the north-west remains with a little of 
its original colour. The effigy, also of Purbeck marble, is thus 
described by Mr. M. H. Bloxham : — " The head of the effigy, 
which is bare and tonsured, with flowing locks by the sides of 
the face, reposes on a double cushion. The Prior is repre- 
sented vested, with the amice about his neck with the apparel ; 



in the alb, the apparels of which appear at the skirt in front 
and round the close-fitting sleeves at the wrists ; with the stole, 
and dalmatica or tunic — which, it is somewhat difficult to say : 
these two latter are not sculptured, but merely painted on the 
effigy, and are only apparent on a careful examination ; over 
these is worn the chesible. This vestment is very rich, and 
ornamented with orfreys round the borders, over the 
shoulders, and straight down in front. Hanging down from 
the left arm is the maniple. The boots are pointed at the 
toes, and the feet rest against a lion. There is no indication 
of the pastoral staff"; the hands are joined on the breast." 
Another proof of its fourteenth century date is that the face is 
close-shaven : had it been an effigy of the twelfth century the 
face would have been bearded. 

West of this is the tomb of Sir George Nowers (de Nodariis), 


who died in 1425. His effigy gives one a good idea of the 
armour of his time — or rather of a period slightly before his 
death. Mr. Bloxham, who devoted special attention to these 
three monuments, thus describes the armour : — 

" On the head is a conical basinet attached by a lace down 
the sides of the face to a camail or tippet of mail, which covers 
the head and shoulders, epauli^res, rere, and vambraces, and 
coudes incase the shoulders, arms, and elbows, and on the 
hands are gauntlets of plate. The body-armour is covered 
with an emblazoned jupon, with an ornamental border of 
leaves, and round this, about the hips, is a rich horizontally 
disposed bawdrick. Beneath the jupon, which is charged with 
the bearing— three garbs Or — is seen the skirt or apron of 
mail. The thighs, knees, legs, and feet are incased in and 
protected by cuisses, genouill^res, jambs, and soUerets, the 
latter composed of movable laminae or plates, and rounded 
at the toes. The feet of this effigy rest against a collared dog, 
and the head reposes on a tilting helm, surmounted by a bull's 
head as a crest." On a scutcheon at the head of the tomb are 
the knight's arms : they are — a fess between three garbs, im- 
paling a chevron between three greyhounds. 

On the pier at the foot of Sir George Nowers' tomb is fixed 
the remarkably characteristic monument of Robert Burton^ the 
famous author of " The Anatomy of Melancholy," who died in 
1639, having been Student of Christ Church for forty years, 
and also Vicar of St. Thomas', Oxford. His bust is coloured, 
and surrounded by an oval frame ; it should be a good like- 
ness, and one fancies that the fiice is drenched in melancholy. 

On the frame are two medallions with a sphere, and a curious 
calculation of his nativity, composed by himself, and placed 
here by his brother William, the historian of Leicestershire. 
The inscription, written by himself, is : — 

Paucis notus, paucioribus ignotus 


Democritus Junior 

Cut vitam dedit et mortem 


At the south side of the Montacute tomb there is a stone in 
the floor with a large cross upon it, and an inscription in Lom- 
bardic characters of which these words can be made out : — 


Johan : de : col , . . v. le : gist : id : JDieu : Merci. 

Four : lame : prier : dis : jours : de : pardon : aver : amen. 

In the north aisle of the choir a stone commemorates 
Andreas de Soltre quondam rector Ecclesiae de Kalleyn ; and a 
brass, James Coorthoppe, Canon of Christ Church 1546, and 
Dean of Peterborough till his death in 1557. On the floor of 
this aisle there is also a small brass with the figure of a youth, 
with the Courtenay arms, and this inscription : — Hie jacet 
Edvardus Courtenay^ filius Hugonis Courtenay^ filii Comitis 
JDevonicBy cujus animce propicietur Deus. This Hugh Cour- 
tenay, the father of the lad, must have been either Hugh second 
Earl of Devon, or his son Hugh, surnamed le Fitz^ one of the 
heroes of Cr^cy. 

Glass in the Aisles. — The three lovely east windows of 
the aisles and Lady Chapel were designed by Sir Edward 
Burne- Jones and executed by Mr. William Morris. The only 
possible criticism is that made by Mr. Ruskin, who once said 
that they were beautiful pictures, but were they windows ? 
They are perhaps open to the objection, but a comparison of 
them with the Reynolds windows in New College Chapel, 
which are flagrant offenders in this way, makes one feel that the 
objection is purely formal, and that these are true windows, 
adding colour and interest to the old cathedral in a perfectly 
legitimate way. One is naturally prejudiced against large 
figures pictorially treated, because of the atrocities of the 
Munich school, but these were made, not at Munich but at 
Merton, by the most accomplished craftsman of the century. 

The first window, that in the Lady Chapel, was erected in 
memory of Frederick Vyner, an undergraduate of the House, 
who was murdered by brigands at Marathon in 1870. The 
figures represent Samuel the Prophet, David, King of Israel, 
John the Evangelist, and Timothy the Bishop. In the panels 
beneath are, Eli instructing the young Samuel, David slaying 
Goliath, St. John at the last supper, and Timothy as a little 
boy learning from his mother. The legends are : — (i) Loquere 
F>omine, quia audit servus tuus, and in the panel Frope est 
Dominus quibus invocantibus cum ; (2) JDeus, Deus^ meus^ ad 
te de luce vigilo, and Tua est Domine victoria ; (3) Qui recubit 
in coena super pectus ejus, and Quis nos separabit a charitate 
Christi'y (4) Dabit tibi Dominus in omnibus intellectum, and 
Statuit super petram pedes meos. 



At the end of the north choir aisle is the St. Cecilia window, 
presented in honour of the patroness of music by Dr. Corfe, a 
former organist, in 1873. In the centre light the saint is 
represented playing her regal or small hand-organ ; two angels 
holding other musical instruments, with palms in their hands^ 
stand by her. The drapery is wrought in white glass, the 
angels have pale blue wings, and the flesh tints matted over 
with r^ tell warm against the drapery. In tl?e lower panels 
are three scenes from her liffe : " Here St. Cecilia teaches her 
husband," "Here an angel of the Lord teaches St. Cecilia,'^ 
" Here St. Cecilia wins a heavenly crown ; " the saint's figure in 
this last panel is most touchingly draWn. Thesie lower panels 
are richer in colour than the rest, and a greater variety of tints 
is introduced ; but the colours are so delicate, and so skilfully 
blended, that they fall in most harmoniously with the main 
parts of the window. As the neighbouring window just 
described is full of the robust strength of manhood, so this one, 
in colour as well as in design, is graceful, delicate, and feminine. 
Probably it will lead to the north choir aisle being known by 
the name of St. Cecilia, whose art has certainly many votaries in 
Oxford. Mr. Malcolm Bell, in his monograph on Burne-Jones, 
gives the following description of the St. Cecilia window: — 

" A still more beautiful instance of the use of simple figures * 
with complicated draperies is found in the lovely St. Cecilia 
window, executed in 1874-5, a companion to the * St. Cather- 
ine,' executed in 1878, in Christ Church Cathedral at Oxford, 
in which, moreover, it is enhanced by the soberness of the 
colouring, which, with the exception of a few touches of stronger 
hues in the lower panels, is green, and white, and gold, sym- 
bolic of the lily of heaven, into which mediaeval commentators 
tortured the meaning of her name. The saint herself stands 
in the middle, with attendant angels on either side, bearing the 
palm of martyrdom, who hush their harmony while she plays. 
Belpw the left-hand angel, St. Cecilia, seated on her bed, reads 
to her husband Valirian the lesson of chastity. In the centre 
the angel brings to them the miraculous proof of the justifica- 
tion of her faith which he demanded from her : 

" Yalirian goth home,'and fint Cecilie 
Withinne his chaumbre with an aungel stonde, 
This aungel had of roses and of lillie 
Corounes two, the which he bar in honde. 



"The lilies, symbolical of virgin purity ; the roses, of victory 
over death. In the third, the executioner holds her by one 
hand as she kneels on the floor of her bath-room, which is seen 
in the background, the steam still rising in it after the in- 
eifectual attempt to roast her to death. With his sword raised 
he is about to strike the first of the three blows which failed to 
cut off her head. 

*' And for ther was that tyme an ordinaunce 
That no man sholde do man such penaunce 
The ferthe stroke to smyten, softe or sore, 
This tormentour durste do no more." 

At the end of the south choir aisle is the third figure window 
of Bume-Jones. It is dedicated to St. Catherine, and is in 
memory of Edith Liddell, a daughter of the late Dean, " who, 
having been scarcely five days betrothed, seized by a sudden 
attack of illness, rendered her spirit to God, June 26th, 1876." 
St. Catherine, crowned, is the central figure : she is painted 
in the likeness of Edith Liddell. On the right is the Angel of 
Suffering and Submission, with mutilated hands, the wheel of 
torture and flames beneath ; on the left is the Angel of 
Deliverance, crushing the wheel of torture and scattering the 
flames. The draperies are white, the wings of the angels are 
a pale blue; and the curtains hanging at the back of the figures 
of a rich greenish blue, while the detailed background is cut 
out of violet-coloured glass, a daring but thoroughly success- 
ful arrangement. In the tracery above are angels playing 
triumphant music. The whole is as beautifully executed as it 
is finely conceived. In the three lower panels are scenes from 
the life and death of the saint : — (i) Shp disputes with philos- 
ophers, pleading for her fellow Christians, and demonstrating 
avec 'force syllogismes the truth of Christianity, and the 
falsity of paganism. This little panel has as large an effect as 
if it were a fresco covering half a wall. (2) Her dream, in 
which she is led through a wilderness by the blessed Virgin 
into the presence of our Lord, who is seated amid a concourse 
of cherubim. The way in which the cherubim are cut out of 
tones of ruby, full of depth, and without a suspicion of crude- 
ness, should be noticed, and compared with the treatment of 
ruby glass elsewhere. This is perhaps the most beautifully 
drawn picture of all ; and the figure of St. Mary is something 


not to be forgotten. (3) St. Catherine is laid in the tomb by 
angels. The inscriptions are : — Agnus reget illoSy et deducet eos 
ad vitae fontes aquarum^ et absterget Deus omnem lachrymam 
ab oculis eorum, Timor Domini ipsa est sapientia, Beati 
mundo corde quoniam Deum videbunt. Cum dederit dilectis suis 

The two first windows in the wall of the south choir aisle, in 
memory of Dr. Jelf, Canon from 1830-187 1, are by Hardman. 
Next is a most interesting glass painting of Bishop King, last 
abbot of Oseney, and first Bishop of Oxford, which is perhaps 
from the hand of Van Ling. This window, with some others, 
was taken down during the Civil War, buried for safety by a 
member of the family, and put up again at the Restoration. 
The Bishop is represented standing vested in a jewelled cope 
of cloth of gold, and mitre, a pastoral staff in his gloved hand. 
In the background, among the trees, is a picture of Oseney 
Abbey in its already ruined condition (c. 1630), drawn without 
much feeling for its architecture, but of great value as almost 
the only picture of the place we possess. The western tower 
was the first home of what are now the Christ Church bells. 
Three coats of arms (being those of the Bishop, impaled with 
the abbey of Oseney and the see of Oxford) complete the rich- 
ness of what is a very good example of seventeenth century 
painted glass, in the strict sense of the word. 

It is to be regretted that some of the glass, which formerly 
was seen by everybody in the cathedral, has been removed to 
the chapter-house, where it is seen by few : among the glass 
thus removed the lovely I.H.C. should not be missed. 

The Latin Chapel (St. Catherine's, or the Divinity 
Chapel, St. Catherias being the patroness of students in 
theology) was built on to the rest in two parts, the walls of the 
Lady Chapel being cut into arches, and duly fitted with shafts. 
The first bay from the. west is, like that of the Lady Chapel, 
part of the transept aisle; the second bay was built in the 
thirteenth century, so as to form a chapel like that of St. Lucy 
on the south side of the church ; the third and fourth were 
added in the fourteenth century, and make now one large 
chapel, very secluded and self-contained, a kind of hortus in- 
clusus that has an attraction peculiarly its own, and dwells 
pleasantly in the memory of every one who sees it. It is 
that supremely excellent thing, a church within a church, 


without which no cathedral can be what its builders intended 
it to be; nor any religious building fulfil that instinctive 
desire of men for an inner place, where they can find their 
way to the inner places of their own hearts. In such a home 
of recollectedness, doubly guarded against the dogging world 
without^ is " rest without languor and recreation without excite- 
ment " ; in such a place one is " never less alone than when 
alone"; and the fine sympathy with the needs of workaday 
humanity, which led mediaeval archi- 
tects to build such sanctuaries as this 
chapel here, or the Lady Chapel of so 
many churches, had led men in far 
earlier ages to find room even within 
the travelling tabernacle of a wander- 
ing tribe for a holy place and a holy 
of holies. Such being the case, it was 
like the crude instincts of the " dark 
ages of architecture" to choose this 
very chapel as most suitable for a window in the latin 
lecture-hall — out of all the lofty rooms chapel. 

in the spacious college. Quite lately 

this practice has been dropped, and the Latin Chapel restored 
to something of its ancient sanctity, though a good deal remains 
to be done in a place where there is not as yet even a chair to 
prdclaim k siste viator. 

The Decorated vaulting was built when the chapel was en- 
larged in the fourteenth century. The foliage of its bosses is 
very beautiful ; the water-lilies especially of the third boss, so 
suggestive of Oxford streams, and the roses a little further 
•east, are a happy combination of naturalistic treatment with 
■decorative restraint. It will be noticefl that the vaulting does 
not run true in the third bay, the Decorated work there having 
been somewhat awkwardly joined to the Early English of the 
second bay. That part of the old wall which forms the pier 
at the juncture has been left in a strangely rough condition ; 
the builder having seemingly given up the problem of fitting 
the vaults to the unequal spaces of the bays, and left the pier 
as a simple bit of old wall, without even a moulding to mark 
its juncture with the vault. 

A prominent feature in the Latin Chapel is the old oak 
stalling, which a second inspection proves to be patchwork. 


The returned stalls at the west end probably belonged to the 
choir of the conventual church, and in that case would have 
been fitted in here when Dean Duppa " adorned " the choir by 
destroying the old wood-work. Near to these is some of the 
work prepared for Cardinal Wolsey's new chapel. The poppy^ 
heads are good specimens of wood-carving, and contain a 
monogram I.H.S., a heart in a crown of thorns, a cardinal's- 
hat, and other devices. The pulpit, with its delicate canopy, 
an excellent specimen of seventeenth century wood-work, was 
formerly the Vice-Chancellor's seat in another part of the 
church, occupied by him during university sermons. It was 
then used by the Regius Professor of Divinity for his lectures, 
but since the altar was restored six years ago, the chapel has 
been no longer used as a lecture room. At the time when it 
was refitted, a handsome ogival arch was found in the wall 
near the north end of the altar : the moulding is deeply re- 
cessed, and once the arch terminated in what must have been 
an ornate finial. The top of this finial has been cut down 
to a level with the window ledge, and the face of the moulding 
hacked off to make the wall flat for the panelling, which has 
now been removed. It was probably the " Easter Sepulchre,"" 
where the Host was deposited on Good Friday, but it may have 
been the tomb of the founder of the chapel. The curious break 
in the masonry at the back has not been yet explained. 

The wall behind the altar is pleasantly hung with Morris 
velvet. The altar itself was the high altar before the restora- 
tion of 1870. In 1890 new^ legs were made for it out of the old 
organ screen, and it was placed in its present position. 

The eastern window (inserted as a memorial to Canon Bull) 
is a pathetic instance of the corrupt following of Mr. Ruskin, 
which also inflicted upon Christ Church the gaunt Meadow 
Buildings. It is, of course, really as unlike Mr. Ruskin's well- 
loved Venetian work as anything can possibly be : as heavy 
as that is light, as clumsy as that is graceful, it is ugly and 
cold and dead ; but it represents a genuine enthusiasm of the 
fifties, and commands our respect as an honest though mis- 
taken effort, a landmark in the history of the architectural 
revival. It also illustrates a truth which one is apt sometimes 
to forget, — that it is easy to appreciate beauty, and very hard 
to create it. 

Fortunately it is nearly lost sight of in the splendid Burne- 


Jones glass which fills it, and represents another side of the 
artistic revival not less important than the architectural. 

Glass in Latin Chapel. — The beautiful windows at the 
side are filled with fine fourteenth century glass, which was 
replaced ^fter a long period of exile by Dean Liddell. In the 
middle of each light is a figure in canopy work, the rest of 
the light being covered with "quarries," — that is, diamond- 
shaped pieces of glass with leaves and flowers lightly burnt 
upon them. The spaces in the tracery are ornamented with 
curious medallions, and the borders with various beasts, as in 
St. Lucy's Chapel, monkeys among them. The Courtenay 
Arms — Three Torteaux — suggest that the family may have 
contributed towards building the chapel. Beginning at the 
west, the first window contains a St. Catherine in the first light, 
next a Madonna and holy Child (the blue pattern at the back 
of these figures should be noticed) ; next a figure of St. Frides- 
wide, or her mother Saffrida. 

The second window contains the figure of an archbishop, 
holding a cross curiously blended into a crooked pastoral staff ; 
angels are on either side. 

The next has St. Frideswide in the centre, with St. Margaret 
and St. Catherine at her side. The patroness holds the curiously 
foliated sceptre which has led to the identification of her figure 
in the choir boss, and Catherine handles her wheel and sword 
in the same way as her statue over the dean's stall in the 
choir. The last window on this side is by Clayton and Bell, 
and a particularly feeble one. 

The St. Frideswide window at the east end of the Latin 
Chapel was designed by Sir E. Burne-Jones and executed by 
Messrs. Powell of the Whitefriars Glass Works, the firm which 
is now making the glass for the mosaics at St. Paul's. " Burne- 
Jones, an Oxford undergraduate, destined for the Church, 
but gifted with high powers of romantic design, sought out 
Rossetti towards June 1856, and showed him some drawings. 
Rossetti told him at once that he ought to be, and must be, 
an artist, and he became one." In the next year Rossetti 
drew the attention of the Powells to the young artist, and they 
had the penetration to recognise his worth and to employ 
him. But though this is one of the first windows that Burne- 
Jones ever designed, it is one of his best. Better suited (as 
many think) to the purpose of a window, at all events in this 


•enclosed chapel, than the freer method of the other glass, 
it carries on the best traditions of the craft, in its infinite 
variety of gem-like colour and complexity of detail; while 
it attains a degree of perfection in pictorial effect and figure- 
drawing which was impossible during the great era of mediaeval 
glass-painting. The death of the saint, with its lovely effect of 
light through the latticed window, for instance, and the picture 
of her in the pig-sty, would be perfect as finished pictures, and 
yet do not for an instant outstep the convention which is 
necessary for their function as part of a window. The fact that 
the subjects are a little crowded is not the artist's fault. Mr. 
Woodward, the architect to whom the commission was due, 
made an unlucky mistake about the measurements, being in 
very ill-health at the time, and indeed on the point of death. 
Mr. Burne-J ones' cartoon had therefore to undergo a mechanical 
reduction which has slightly affected the clearness of the designs. 
The colour is, in spite (or rather because) of its radiant variety, 
not so immediately attractive to everyone as that of the other 
Bume-Jones windows ; but when one has sat down for five or 
ten minutes and deciphered the various scenes, its unapproach- 
able -beauty becomes apparent, and each succeeding visit 
deepens the impression of the splendour and poetry of this 
incomparable work. 

The scenes depicted are, by the artist's own account, as 
follows : — 

First Light, 

St. Frideswide and her companions brought up by St. Cecilia and St. 

St. Frideswide founds her first convent. 

A messenger from the King of Mercia demands her in marriage. 

The King comes to take her by force, and the first convent is broken up. 

Second Light, 

Flight of St. Frideswide to Abingdon. 

The King of Mercia and his soldiers in pursuit. 

The Flight continued. 

The Pursuit continued. 

St. Frideswide takes refuge in a pig-sty. 

Third Light, 

Flight of St. Frideswide to Binsey. 

The King of Mercia in pursuit. 

St. Frideswide founds a new convent at Binsey. 

Her merciful deeds. 



Fourth Light, 
Return of St. Frideswide to Oxford. 
The Siege of Oxford by the King of Merda. 
The Siege continued. 
The King struck blind. 
The Death of St Frideswide* 

In the tracery above are the trees of life and of knowledge,, 
and a ship of souls convoyed by angels. 

This east window was purchased with money left by Dr. 
Bull (1853), to whom there is a monument against the western 
wall. There are also brasses to the eminent Dr. Mozley (Regius 
Professor of Divinity till 1878), Dr. Ogilvie (1873), Dr. Shirley 
(1866), Dr Barnes (1859), Archdeacon Gierke (1877). 




St. Frideswide (Fritheswithe, " The Bond of Peace "), found- 
ress and patron saint of the church, lived early in the * eighth 
century, when Ethelbald was King of Mercia. Her father 
Didan was probably the under-king of the little town of Oxford, 
which was then a frontier city of Mercia. In spite of the legen- 
dary atmosphere that has gathered about her memory, there 
is no reason to doubt the main facts of her life ; indeed, the 
best modern authorities endorse them. 

Here is her story, told in the delightful words of Anthony 
a Wood, who wrote towards the end of the seventeenth cen- 
tury : — 

"About the year of our Lord 727, as authors say, lived in 
the city of Oxford a prince (or as Malmesbury hath, a king) 
named Didan, one of incomparable honesty and virtues, who, 
by his wife Safrid, of a Saxon family, had an only daughter 
called Frideswyde, born at this place, and by her parents brought 
up in all manner of honest and liberal breeding, befitting her 
descent." Then is described her early piety, her refusal of 
marriage, and her refusal also to be a nun. The narrative 
continues : — 

"And furthermore, with great zeale, she added that seeing 
he had large possessions and inheritances and that she was 
like to enjoy most of them after his discease, he could not doe 
better than bestowe them upon some religious fabrick wherein 
she and her spirituall sjsters (votaresses also) might spend their 
dayes in prayers and singing of psalmes and hymmes to God. 
To which the father giving an attentive eare and considering 
withal 1 that his issue was like to be discontinued, took upon 
him a resolution to performe the same that soe he might leave 


his child in a comfortable manner and then dye in peace^ 
Wherfore, not long after, the good old man built a church 
within the praecincts (as 'tis said) of the city of Oxon, and 
dedicated it to the honour of the Holy Trinity, the Virgin 
M?iry and All Saints, and soe committed it wholy to the use 
of his daughter Frideswyde purposely to exercise her devotion 

Then is told how Frideswide afterwards took the veil, induc- 
ing " 12 virgins of noble extract to follow her"; how her father 
"erected other aedifices adjoyning to the church to serve as 
lodging rooms for the said virgins," settled lands upon the 
Nunijfry, and died. The central story of her life next 
follow^; — 

'* Frideswyde, continuing most constant in her strict course 
of life, was not only reputed famous for that particular, but 
also for those excellent parts that nature had endowed her 
withall; insomuch that both being conjoined in one body, 
was accounted the flower of all these parts. Which being 
quickly rumoured in other countryes, gave occasion to a young 
spritely prince, named Algar, king of Leycester, to become her 
adorer in way of marriage. Which she by his proxies and 
others of his wellwishers understanding, triumphed soe highly 
in her virginity, that she with an open profession utterly despised 
both him and his princely bed; neither left the least incourage- 
ment for him to proceed in this his designe The king having 
such a sudden repulse, and supposing it to be a flashy resolu- 
tion, encited him the more to goe forward; and sometimes, 
considering her beauty, then her incomparable qualities, and 
both obscured under a minchon's hood, could not but attempt 
once more. Which, though he performed with all the in- 
treaties and gifts imaginable, did not in the least disjoynt her 
purpose, but rather occasioned her to trample upon his accost- 
ments and with a coy deportment despise his offers. All it 
seemes was in vaine : nothing to be heard but nays : nothing 
to be received but foyles : nothing but what if pursued, usher 
him to dispaire : and the like. What shall we imagine this 
yong amoretto now to doe ! Noe place is able to containe him, 
nobody please his curious fancy but deare Frideswyde ! Noe 
note now but * hei tnihi^ quod nullis^ etc. ! 

"To remedy this, therefore, and attaine his cure, he con- 
sidered very well from the praemises could not be compassed 


unless it was by a forced stealth. These were his last thoughts ; 
and this he was resolved to prosecute. 

"Wherefore, immediately summoning some of his faithfull 
servants, sent them as embassadours to profer (under pretence) 
his last desires for marriage, with full power, if like to prosper, 
to complete it. With this speciall and soveiraign caution, if 
she did not concede, to watch their opportunity and carry her 
away by force.'* 

Then follows the account of the visit of the ambassadors, 
their threats of force, and the Saint's undaunted reply. The 
story proceeds : — 

" Well, the night is spent in consultation, and at the dawning 
of the dky they sallied from their lodgings and made their 
appearance towards the Nunnery, where clambering the fences, 
of the house and by degrees approching her private lodging 
promised to themselves nothing but surety of their prize. But 
alas ! their purposes came short. What shall we think the 
event of this designe ? Why ! their hopes were utterly frustrated. 
For shee, either by the noise they made at their entrance or 
else (as 'tis said in another place) by the instinct of some good 
spirit, awakened and suddenly arose to see what was the matter. 
And immediately discovering who they were and their intent 
for what they came, and finding it in vaine to make an escape 
from them by flight being soe closely beseiged, she (as the best 
remidy) straightway prostrated her selfe flatt on her face and 
fervently prayed to the almighty that he would praeserve her 
from the violence of those wicked persons that were now ready 
to take her away, that he would show some speciall token of 
reveng upon them for this their bold attempt. Wherefore the 
embassadors (as 'tis delivered) were miraculously struck blind, 
and like mad men ran headlong yelling about the city." 

The townsmen were much amazed at this strange sight, and 
— " Upon this the cheifest of them went straightway to her and 
falling upon ^Jtie^r knees, humbly desired h^r to grant those 
simple and impettinent people their sights, promising withall 
that, as sone as they were perfected, would see them out of 
towne and enjoyne them noe more to returne. Hereupon she 
commanded them to be brought to her ; and after fervent 
prayers in cheir behalfe, were as wonderfully restored to their 
eyes againe, as before they were deprived of them." 

On the ambassadors' return to Algar, he was filled with 


rage against "that witch, hagge, and fury Frideswyde," and 
planned vengeance: — **The king then gathering a force and 
intending for Oxon, breathed out nothing but fire and sword 
to this place. But the night before he came hither, there was 
an angel (as the story goes) appeared to Frideswyde in a dreame, 
saying to her these words : ^ IgnoraSy O Firgo/ Szc: * thou art 
as yet ignorant, O virgin, what will befall you to-morrow : for 
King Algar with his assistants intend to sett upon you and if it 
be possible will satisfy his lust upon you and leave you a 
miserable creature. But doe not feare : there is a safe place 
provided for you ; and he for this his attempt shall be struck 
blind and never recover his sight. Arise therefore, and make 
hast to the way that leads to the river Thames, where you shall 
find a ship boat ready provided for you and one in it to convey 
you away in safety.' After this was pronounced Frideswyde 
awakened ; and, suddenly arising from her couch, took two of 
her sisters the nunns named Katherine and Cicely ; and 
walked to the place appointed her by the angell in her 
dreame. Where according to his admonitions, she found a 
boat by the river's side and in it the appearance of a yong 
man with a beautiful countenance and clothed in white : who, 
mitigating their feare with pleasant speech, placed them in the 
boat, in which, the space of one hour, shee and her sisters 
arrived neare the towne called Benton [Bampton or Bensington], 
ten miles and above distant from Oxon. 

" Wh-3re after their landing, followed a path adjoyning, which 
conveyed them into a vast and dismall wood. And wandring 
therin too and fro, met at length with a kind of hovell or 
shelter purposely erected to harbour swine and other cattell in 
times of cold and wett weather ; and there taking up a resolu- 
tion to fix, crossed them^lves and retired therin. Which place 
being quickly overgrowen with ivy and other sprouts, they 
continued therin a long time, being in fasting and prayers, and 
utterly unknown to the inhabitants therabouts." 

Algar in the meanwhile had gone to Oxford, found Frideswide 
flown, and in the midst of his fury been smitten with blindness. 
After living three years in close retirement in the Benton wood, 
Frideswide, to comfort the nuns whom she had left, came by 
boat to Binsey near Oxford, and there lived for some time. 
Soon after she came back into Oxford, and spent her days in 
the service of the people, working in especial many miracles of 



healing. The Cottonian MS. relates her first miracle as happen- 
ing at " Bentonia/' when St. Frideswide cured a blind girl of 
seven through virtue of the water wherein the saint had washed 
her hands. Shortly after she helped a young man (infortunatus 
juvenis) named Alward, who, while cutting wood on a Sunday 
(parvi pendens diem Resurrectionis Domintcce), found his hand 
fixed to the handle of his axe, so that he could not let it go. 
A beautiful story is told about her entry into Oxford ; that a 



leper met her, and begged her to kiss him, which, after making 
the sign of the cross, she did, and he was healed of his leprosy. 
Of her last sojourn in Oxford, William of Malmesbury says : 
— " In that place, therefore, this maiden, having gained thef 
triumph of her virginity, established a convent, and when her 
days were over and her Spouse called her, she there died." 



"Some time," says Dugdale, " after the glorious death of St. 
Frideswide, the nuns having been taken away, Secular Canons 
were introduced." We cannot fix the date when the com- 
munity of nuns which the saint had founded was thus removed, 
but the passage which follows in Dugdale makes it clear that 
the seculars were in possession in 1004, when Ethelred II. 
rebuilt the church. It seems strange that the nuns, for whom 
Frideswide had suffered so much and laboured so successfully, 
should have been thus early made to give place to a chapter 
of married priests ; but early it must have been, for by the 
middle of the tenth century Dunstan was busy suppressing the 
seculars, and enforcing everywhere the stricter monastic rule. 
Nor did the nuns ever come back ; for, when the Secular 
Canons had finally disappeared, by the time of the Norman 
Conquest, the priory, after being for a long time in ruins, was 
made over, first to the great Benedictine monastery of Abing- 
don, of which it became a " cell " or dependency, shortly after- 
wards to the warlike Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, " but only for 
the profits issuing from their lands, which he, after its restpration, 
returned again with great reluctancy " ; and it was finally restored 
under Henry I. (mi) as a house of the Canons Regular of St. 
Augustine, an order holding a position midway between monks 
and secular canons, in whose hands it* continued henceforward. 

Guimond was the first prior, and a curious story is told by 
several old writers as to the "manner whereby he won the king's 
favour : — 

"On Rogation Sunday (30th April 11 22), when the king 
was at mass and Guymundus performing divine service before 
him, did when he came to that parcell of the prophet, * it did 
not rain upon the earth for the space of III. years and six 
months,' read thus, * it" did not rain upon the earth one, one, 
one years and six months.' Which the king observing, and 
all the clerks marvelling and laughing at, did when mass was 
ended reprove him for it, and furthermore asked him the 
reason why he read after that manner. Guymund smilingly 
answered, * Because you, my liege, are used to bestow your 
bishopricks and other church benefices to them that rqad so ; 
and therefore be it known to you, henceforth I will serve no 
other master but Christ my King and Sovereign, who knoweth 
as well how to confer temporal as eternal benefits upon his 
servants that always obey him.'" 


By the eleventh century important national meetings were 
held in Oxford, as when in 1020, Cnut being then king, the 
English and Danes were reconciled, and both nations agreed 
to observe the laws of Edgar. But no king ventured to visit 
the city, for, after the failure of Algar, there was a tradition 
that boded misfortune to any king who entered within the city 
walls. Henry III. was the first to defy it by coming to worship 
at the shrine of St. Frideswide in 1264 ; but his example was 
an unfortunate one, for within six weeks Nemesis came in the 
Battle of Lewes. Edward I. was less daring than his father, 
for in 1275, when he reached the gates of Oxford, he turned 
his horse about, and sought a lodging outside the town. 
Later in his reign, however, he made the venture, and de- 
stroyed the superstition. 

St. Frideswide's Priory did not, according to the latest 
authority on mediaeval universities, Mr. Rashdall, create Oxford 
University,* but reasons of convenience of access and other like 
matter-of-fact causes ; for, if the University had needed only 
a religious house round which to cluster, the neighbouring 
monastery of Abingdon was far larger and more suitable. 
Yet there is great probability that the first germs of the 
University were produced by the Priory. It is said, indeed, 
that the Mercian kings built inns or halls in the neighbourhood 
of the convent, but we may suspect this as a legendary state- 
ment not more substantiable than the story of King Alfred's 
founding University College, since the first actual notice of 
" Oxeneford " does not occur till 912. But it is much more 
certain that, during the wise rule of Guimond (11 22-1 141), the 
first Regular Prior, and of Robert of Cricklade,t his successor, 
there was a school connected with the convent, as indeed ^^ as 
the case with most convents, and probably with St. Fridts- 
wide's itself before Guimond's time. This school stood near 

* Mr. Rashdall 's theory has, however, already been called in question 
by Mr. A. F. Leach, who {^National Review^ September 1896) asserts 
-decisively that there were schools at Oxford even before Guimond's tii^e, 
and that ** Oxford is as much, there is every reason to believe, a natural 
growth from the schools and schoolmasters of St. Frideswide's as Parts 
from those of Notre Dame." 

t Prior Robert published an abridgment of Pliny, addressed '*to the 
studiouei, and especially to those in cloisters and schools," He also pub- 
lished another work on /ar^3V Marriage^ which he said he had written 
when he was himself a scholar and "a regent master." 



the west end of the church, about the middle of what is now 
Tom Quad. Writing of the arrival of Vacarius, in King 
Stephen's reign, Mr. J. R. Green says : — " We know nothing 
of the causes which drew students and teachers within the 
walls of Oxford. It is possible that here, as elsewhere, the 
new teacher had quickened older educational foundations, and 
that the cloisters of Osney and St. Frideswide already possessed 
schools which burst into a larger life under the impulse of 

The Priory was also one of the centres of university life 
in its early days, occupying perhaps in some sort the position 
held by St. Mary's at the present day. From the time of the 
Translation of St. Frideswide, the chancellor and scholars of 
the University used to go in Mid-Lent and on Ascension Day 
" in a general procession to her church, as the mother-church 
of the University and town, there to pray, preach, and offer 
oblations to her shrine." The Civil Law School belonged to 
St. Frideswide's as well as St. Patrick's Schools, and some 
others situated near to School Street. Among the Halls that 
the Priors possessed, Brend Hall was in 1438 made over to 
Lincoln College ; Urban Hall and Bekes Inn were bought by 
Bishop Fox to procure a site for Corpus Christi College. 

Yet St. Frideswide's does not seem to have been so great 
a power in educational matters as its position would have 
warranted. In fact, most of the other orders were ahead of 
the Augustinian Regulars in this matter, for we do not hear of 
their doing anything much until the fifteenth century, when 
St. Mary's College near Northgate Street was an Augustinian 
establishment. It was the new orders, the Black Friars 
(Dominicans) and the Grey Friars (Franciscans), who did so 
much for the educational advance of Oxford. The Franciscan 
schoolmen, especially, gave the University a European reputa- 
tion, for Roger Bacon, Duns »Scotus, and William Occam 
were trained by them. Cardinal Wolsey, though he did much 
harm to St. Frideswide's church, did at least make the place a 
great educational centre. 

In one indirect way we find that the Priory helped to attend 
to the scholars' interests in the thirteenth century. " Owing to 
the general poverty," says Mr. Boase, "charitable people founded 
chests, from which loans might be made to poor scholars. 
Grostete began the system in 1240 by issuing an ordinance 


regulating St. Frideswide's Chest, which received the fines paid 
by citizens ; and we hear on the whole of about two dozen of 
these charitable funds, amounting in all to nearly 2000 marks. 
The money was lent out on security of books, plate, or other 
property, and it was, in fact, a pawnbroking business which 
charged no interest." The money accruing to the University 
was placed in a chest at St. Frideswide's, when the borrower 
was required to deposit some pledge — a book or a cup, or a 
piece of clothing. Pledges not redeemed within a year were 
sold by public auction. As time went on, private bequests 
were added to the Frideswide chest, to the great relief, no 
doubt, of the scholars, who were as poor as could be. 

The Fair of St. Frideswide was another useful institution con- 
nected with the Priory, for in early days the fairs not only 
afforded much innocent amusement, but they also served to 
mark the seasons of the year, and were of great practical value 
in the domestic economy of the people. St. Frideswide's Fair 
lasted for seven days, and during that time the keys of the city 
passed from the mayor to the prior, and the town courts were 
closed in favour of the Piepowder Court, held by the steward 
of the Priory for the redress of all disorders committed during 
the tair. By Stuart times the Fair had fallen almost to nothing, 
but its memory is still kept up by the annual cakestall in St. 

One of the strongest Jewries in England existed in Oxford, 
so the chest was a useful form of charity in the days when Jews 
were the only money-lenders, and it was found necessary to 
pass a law preventing the Hebrews of Oxford from charging 
over 43 per cent, on loans to scholars. In 1268 St. Frideswide's 
provided a curious proof of the strong protection which the 
Jews enjoyed till their expulsion from England for four centuries 
in 1290. 

" The feud between the Priory and the Jewry went on for a 
century more, till it culminated in a daring act of fanaticism 
on Ascension Day 1268. As the usual procession of scholars 
and citizens returned from St. Frideswide's, a Jew suddenly 
burst from the group of his friends in front of the synagogue, 
and snatching the crucifix from its bearer, trod it underfoot. 
But even in presence of such an outrage, the terror of the Crown 
shielded the Jewry from any burst of popular indignation. 
The king condemned the Jews of Oxford to make a heavy 


silver crucifix for the University to carry in the processions, and 
to erect a cross of marble on the spot where the crime was 
committed ; but even this was in part remitted, and a less- 
offensive place was allotted for the cross in an open plot by 
Merton College." The event which had opened the feud be- 
tween the Priory and the Jews happened about 1185, when 
Prior Phillip complained of a certain l^eus-eum-crescaf (GedaMah)^ 
son of Mossey, who stood at his door as the procession of St. 
Frideswide passed by, and mocked at her miracles, no one 
daring to meddle with him. 

An instance of the widespread fame of the shrine of St. 
Frideswide, and the veneration in which it was held even 
shortly before its destruction, is given in Wood's " Annals." In 
1 518, "Queen Katherine being desirous to come to Oxford^ 
was attended in her journey by the Cardinal [Wolsey] : and being 
entered within the limits, was received by the scholars with all 
demonstrations of love and joy. After she had received their 
curtesies, she retired to St. Frideswydd Monastery to do her 
devotions to the sacred reliques of that Virgin Saint, being the 
chief occasion, it seems, that brought her hither." 

But the great change was rapidly approaching. It had 
indeed been foreshadowed nearly a century and a half before, 
as when, for instance, on Ascension Day 1382, Wyclifs disciple 
Nicholas Hereford, preaching in the churchyard of St. Frides- 
widens, made a violent attack on the Mendicant Friars, and 
boldly asserted his sympathy with Wyclif. 

The suppression of the Priory in 1 524 was not, however, a Pro- 
testant act ; for Wolsey obtained a bull from Pope Clement VII., 
authorising him, with the royal consent, to suppress the Priory 
of -St. Frideswide, and to transfer the canons to other houses of 
the Augustinian order, so that their dwelling and revenues 
might be assigned to the proposed college of secular clerks. 
Wolsey had magnificent ideas about education, — "indeed," 
says Fuller, " nothing mean could enter into this man's mind "; 
he was bent on founding institutions which should surpass 
even those of William of Wykeham and William Waynflete-; 
and he saw that monasticism had fallen into disrepute, with 
no prospect of restoration to public favour. He adopted, 
therefore, the hitherto exceptional method of suppressing 
certain priories, in order that he might endow with their 
revenues his new foundation of Cardinal College, as it was first 


Styled. Henry VIII. readily assented to the scheme, and his 
minister was thus enabled to dissolve the oldest religious 
establishment within the walls of Oxford, and to dispose of its 
income of "almost ;^3oo a year." Dr. John Barton, the last 
Prior of St. Frideswide's, was elected to be Abbot of the 
neighbouring monastery of Oseney, just as (a little later) 
Bishop King, the last Abbot of Oseney, was made first Bishop 
of Oxford. 

There was much popular opposition to Wolsey's act in sup- 
pressing St. Frideswide's, and (by a second Papal Bull) certain 
other monasteries. Hall, a chronicler unfriendly to Wolsey, 
averred that " the poor wretches " ejected from the monasteries 
received scarcely any compensation. Complaints such as these 
drew from Wolsey this earnest and redundant contradiction : — 

''Almighty God I take to my record, I have not meant, 
intended, or gone about, ne also have willed mine officers, to 
do anything concerning the said suppressions, but under such 
form and manner as is and hath largely been to the full satisfac- 
tion, recompense, and joyous contentation of any person which 
hath had, or could pretend to have, right or interest in the same, 
in such wise that many of them, giving thanks and laud to God 
for the good chance succeeded unto them, would for nothing, if 
they might, return or be restored and put again in their former 
state, as your Highness shall abundantly and largely perceive 
at my next repairing unto the same. 

" Verily, sir, I would be loth to be noted that I should intend 
such a virtuous foundation for the increase of your Highness' 
merit, profit of your subjects, the advancement of good learning, 
and for the weale of my poor soul, to be established or acquired 
ex rapinisJ^ 

It was indeed, says Mr. Maxwell Lyte, part of Wolsey's 
" grand and statesmanlike scheme of establishing episcopal sees 
in some of the larger monasteries, and annexing thereto smaller 
monasteries to provide greater revenues." The graduates of 
Oxford were very grateful, and promised to remember him in 
their prayers to the end of time ; but great fear came over the 
monks. His proceedings, says Fuller quaintly but truly, " made 
all the forest of religious foundations in England to shake, 
justly fearing the kmg would finish to fell the oaks, seeing the 
Cardinal began to cut the underwood." 

Thus was Cardinal College founded. Its magnificence 


certainly made a great impression upon Englishmen, as is 
shown by the fact that it is the only existing college men- 
tioned by Shakespeare. In Henry VIIL Wolsey is praised 
for his new foundation : — 

" though unfinished, yet so £Eimous, 
So excellent in art, and yet so rising. 
That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue." 

But all Wolsey's great buildings, and projects still greater, 
were stopped by his sudden fall in 1529. Three years after- 
wards "bluff Harry broke into the spence," and, placidly 
transferring the whole credit of the idea to himself, refounded 
Cardinal College with the title " King Henry VIII. his College." 
Then he suppressed his own foundation, and, on Nov. 4th, 
1546, reconstituted it, adopting the novel and economical 
expedient of combining a cathedral with an academic 
college. The new style was Ecclesia Christi Cathedra lis Oxon 
ex fundatione Regis Henrici octavi ; so St. Frideswide's church, 
which had for seven years been the chapel of Cardinal College, 
and of King Henry's College for thirteen years, became at 
length the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford, and also the 
chapel of the college now at length called Christ Church, and 
presided over by the Dean of the cathedral. Ever since, the 
ancient church has had a two-fold character as cathedral 
church and college chapel ; and " as the Dean of Christ Church 
is always present, and the Bishop of Oxford very seldom, 
academic usages and appearances rather prevail over the 
ecclesiastical, in a way that may have been the reverse of 
satisfactory to more than one occupant of the see of Oxford." 

Wolsey had contemplated establishing a hundred canons ; 
but Henry reduced the number at a stroke to twelve, and then 
to eight ; later they were further reduced to six, which is the 
present number. Besides the canons, deap, [and bishop, 
Henry's foundation included eight petty canons or chaplains, 
a gospeller and a postiller or bible-clerk, eight singing clerks, 
eight choristers and their master, a schoolmaster and an usher, 
an organist, sixty scholars or students, and forty "children," 
corresponding no doubt to the scholars of later days. Soon 
after, however, the whole scholastic part of the establishment 
was replaced by one hundred students, who (with the one 
" outcomer " of the Thurston foundation) are still nightly tolled 


by the hundred and one strokes of great Tom, this being the 
signal for college-gates to be closed all over Oxford. 

Such was the arrangement of the new establishment, which, 
as the name of Ecclesia Christi was replaced by ^des Christie 
came to be called, according to the double use of the word cedes, 
both Christ Church and the House. The history of the see of 
Oxford, which was first set up at Oseney in 1542, will be found 
in another chapter. 

Curiously enough, the suppression of the monasteries, and 
the new vigorous religious movement, did not benefit the 
University, in spite of the addition of Wolsey's great college ; 
on the contrary, the Reformation nearly emptied the University, 
which had already lost much of its old activity during the intel- 
lectual stagnation of the fifteenth century, so that, in Edward VI.'s 
reign, washerwomen took to hanging out their clothes in the 
schools. Most of the halls disappeared for ever, and from that 
time Oxford passed out of the hands of the poor man, Christ 
Church as the royal college becoming the special home of the 
gilded youth. The first functions of the House seem indeed to 
have been mainly ornamental : Henry VIII. was entertained 
there, public declamations were given before the University 
under Edward VI., Cranmer was unfrocked in the cloister 
under Mary. In Queen Elizabeth's reign, as well as in the 
seventeenth century, Christ Church Hall was used for the 
performance of plays, as when in 1583 Dido was acted, and 
" there was a pleasant sight of hunters, with a full cry of a 
kennel of hounds, and Mercury and his descending and 
ascending from and to a high place. The tempest also, where- 
in it rained small comfits, rose-water, and snew artificial snow, 
was very strange to the beholders." 

The Deans in Elizabeth's time were undistinguished. There 
was Martiall, who was appointed by Mary, and deprived in 1559 
for his religioi% " which though he had two or three times 
changed, yet having made himself Enemies by his indiscreet 
Carriage, he was obliged to go into Yorkshire " ; and there was 
Sampson, who was " so professed an enemy of the ceremonies 
of the Church of England," and of organs and vestments, that 
he was removed by Archbishop Parker, 1 565. But there was no 
one else of much note till Brian Duppa was installed in 
1629. This staunch old man left Christ Church in 1641 
for the Bishopric of Salisbury, after having " adorned " the 


cathedral, with the mixed results we have witnessed. He was 
extremely generous and unselfish ; and he stuck to the king 
through his evil days, even sharing, his imprisonment in 
Carisbrooke Castle, where he is thought materially to have 
assisted in writing the " Eikon BasilikeJ* Duppa, Mr. Wake- 
man tells us, "amid many dangers had boldly found means to 
carry on the torch of apostolic grace, even amid the proscrip- 
tions of Cromwell." 

During the troubles of the Civil War, Christ Church came 
in for its share of the work : in 1 642 a University regiment 
of Cavaliers was drilled in Tom Quad, and of the hundred 
and one students of the House twenty became officers in the 
king's army. After Edgehill, Charles I. occupied Oxford, 
and kept his court with Prince Charles in Christ Church. On 
February 3rd, 1644, the king appointed a thanksgiving to be 
made at evensong for the taking of Cirencester by Prince 
Rupert the day before. The doctors were then in their red 
robes, the officers and men in laced buff coats and polished 
breastplates. " But there was no new Form of Thanksgiving 
said, save only that Form for the victory of Edgehill, and a 
very solemn anthem, with this several times repeated therein — 
* Thou shalt set a Crown of pure gold upon his Head, and upon 
his Head shall his Crown flourish.' " 

In 1646 Oxford was taken by the Roundheads, and in 1648,. 
at the visitation of the Parliamentary officers (the Dean, Samuel 
Fell, being in custody), Mrs. Fell, with some other ladies, and 
her children, refused to walk out of the Deanery, and had to be 
carried out with her companions, and " deposited in the quad- 
rangle in feminine protest against extrusion." Dean Samuel 
Fell, who had finished Duppa's wood and glass work in the 
cathedral, and built the fine staircase into the hall, diefl heart- 
broken on February ist, 1648, "the Day he was acquainted 
with the murder of his Royal Master King Charles I. '*: he 
was buried at Sunningwell, near Abingdon, with this inscrip- 
tion of touching brevity — JDepositum S. F. Februar. 1648. 

The use of the Latin version of the Prayer Book, and the 
English version as well, had ceased three months before ; 
but it was kept up in a house in Merton Street by three 
Christ Church men, one of whom was the Dean's son, John 
Fell, afterwards himself to become Dean and Bishop of Oxford. 
The intruding Dean and Chapter seem to have behaved 


villainously; for, in an account given by the Chapter of 1670, 
it is stated that the entire revenues of the College had been 


exhausted by the intruders, all the unfinished work on the 
north side of Tom Quad demolished, and the timbers actually 


sawn down from the walls and roof to be used as firewood. 
Almost every part of the College was damaged in this way, and 
the huge expense of making the destruction good had to 
be borne by the new Chapter after the Restoration. 

Samuel Fell's first Puritan successor in the Deanery was 
Reynolds, a Presbyterian who, in two years (1650), was turned 
out "to make room," says Browne Willis, "for that noted, 
canting. Independent, Time-serving Hypocrite John Owen." 
This Owen was himself turned out in 1659, and "retired 
among the Dissenters at London, and there ended his Days 
{preaching up Sedition in Conventicles)." He was buried in 
Bun hill Fields, with a portentously long epitaph, whereof one 
•sentence may suffice as a specimen — In illd viribus plusquam 
Herculeis^ Serpentibus tribus^ Arminio^ Socjno^ Cano, 
venenosa strinxit guttura, 

Reynolds was restored by the Presbyterians in 1659, but 
them deserting, he became Bishop of Norwich, and was 
succeeded at Christ Church in 1660 by Marley, who, in the 
same year, became a Bishop, and afterwards succeeded the 
tough old Duppa in the see of Winchester, 1662. John Fell, 
who had seen so much trouble in his father's old house, was 
next installed therein, in 1660. His biography will be found 
among the bishops. 

James H. made Massey, an ex- Presbyterian convert to the 
Roman Church, Dean of Christ Church, and the Holy Com- 
munion was celebrated according to the Roman use every day 
in the House. When the king visited Oxford in 1687, he was 
lodged in the Deanery, and a chapel fitted up for his use. 
He summoned the fellows of Magdalen, who had refused to 
admit Bishop Parker as their president, into Christ Church Hall, 
and said : — " Is this your Church of England loyalty ? Get you 
gone. Know that I, your King, will be obeyed. Go and admit 
the Bishop of Oxon. Let those who refuse look to it. They 
shall feel the whole weight of my hand." They refused, and 
twenty-five of them were expelled. James, by-the-way, touched 
for the King's Evil in the cathedral about the same time. 

Aldrich, the versatile, followed in the Deanery, nothing being 
said of Massey in the letters patent which installed him as 
direct successor to John Fell. We have alluded to him more 
than once in this book, and his monument in the nave is 
mentioned in its place. 


After Aldrich came £'rancis Atterbury in 1711, who in 1713. 
left Oxford to combine the rather dissimilar functions of Bishop 
of Rochester and Dean of Westminster. He found his way 
into the Tower of London in 1722, being convicted of corre- 
spondence with the Pretender. 

By the eighteenth century Oxford had sunk into a state of 
torpor, from which it began to recover in 1807, when the first 
honour schools were founded ; though from 1783 Dean Cyril 
Jackson had been doing a great work in the restoration of order 
and efficiency at the House. Christ Church thus bore an 
honourable part in the revival of learning, and gradually de- 
veloped from a rich man's plesaunce into a home of learning :. 
the names of Ruskin, Gladstone, and Pusey are typical of the 
great men in different walks of life that have belonged to the 
cathedral college in our own era. Dean Gaisford more than 
half a century ago did much to help on the progress ; and the 
long rule of his successor. Dean Liddell (1855-91), familiar to- 
every schoolboy through his famous lexicon, covered a period 
of immense change both in the cathedral and in the college.. 
Dr. Liddell is now living in retirement, his successor being Dr. 
Francis Paget, one of the writers in ** Lux Mundiy^ and the 
author of some well-known volumes of addresses. 

Fifty years ago it was said that Christ Church was the only 
cathedral in Christendom where there were neither services nor 
sermons for the people of the diocese. But the new life, which 
has since then wrought such great changes in university, 
cathedral, and diocese alike, has left Christ Church, if still the- 
smallest, yet not the least important of the great centres of 
ecclesiastical activity. 



Down to our own time, Oxford remained one of the new 
dioceses of the English Church, having been set up by Henry 
Vni. by way of compensation for his confiscation of the 
monastic properties. Before 1542 Oxford belonged to the 
•enormous diocese of Lincoln ; but in that year the new see 
was created, and Robert King, the last Abbot of Oseney, was 
made first Bishop of Oseney, and the Bishop^s stool set up in 
Jiis magnificent abbey church of St. Mary. 

This Abbey of Oseney, which had been founded by Robert 
D'Oilgi in 11 29, and rebuilt in 1247, was, like St. Frides- 
wide's, a house of Augustinian Canons, but far larger. It was, 
indeed, one of the finest abbeys in England, its principal 
cloister being as large as Tom Quad, and its church no less than 
352 feet by 100, with double aisles, and twenty-four altars. 
Gardens and courts, and comely outbuildings, ran along the 
side of the river ; in every corner a busy life went on among 
the orieled windows and high-pitched roofs, within the fretted 
cloister, the schools and libraries, the refectory, and the kitchen, 
whither a conduit brought the water from the river side. A 
great gate looked on to the high road ; and the abbot's lodgings 
were so spacious that six men could walk abreast up the steps 
which led into his hall. Yet others were not forgotten ; besides 
the guest-house, there was a building reserved for poor clerks. 

But Henry's mania for destruction could not let the Abbey 
«tand. In 1546 he moved the see to St. Frideswide's, recon- 
stituting the old Priory, which Wolsey had turned into a college, 
.as both college and cathedral. The doom of Oseney was 
pronounced, and in that year the demolition began. 

In 1566 Agar's map represents Oseney Abbey as still stand- 


ing, but roofless ; in 1644 a good deal remained, but Charles I. 
used the greater part to complete the fortifications of Oxford 
against the Cromwellians ; in 17 18 the abbot's chamber and 
the great stone staircase were all that was left. In Dr. 
Johnson's time a few ruins could still be seen, of which the 
^eat man said (at a time when such sentiments were un- 
■common) — " Sir, to look upon them fills me with indignation." 
At the present day the remains are almost invisible ; they 
•consist of a portion of a building attached to the mill, a 
fragment of the foundations of the gateway at the end of the 
same building, a small portion of the wall near the great gate, 
a few loose fragments of masonry, and some encaustic tiles. 
Bishop King's window in the cathedral gives one a vague 
reminder of its former aspect ; and only the bells, which were 
transferred to Christ Church, remain intact. Thus perished 
the first cathedral church of the see of Oxford. 

Of it there now remains no memory 
Nor any little monument to see ; 
By which the traveller that fares that way, 
That once she was may warned be to say. 

Apart from questions of vandalism, the destruction of this 
the first cathedral of Oxford was an egregious piece of waste 
and folly. Such places have been only too much needed by 
the University — indeed the need was felt a few years after the 
-destruction— and vast sums have been spent in the erection 
of immeasurably inferior buildings. If Oseney Abbey, with 
its crowd of beautiful outbuildings along the water side, had 
been converted into a college, it would have been of immense 
use, and every other college now extant insignificant compared 
with it. Of all the headstrong and wanton actions of an 
irreverent age, the destruction of Oseney was one of the most 
wicked ; and, as the train moves into Oxford railway station, 
the stranger may remember that the present approach to the 
old city is only so hideous because the glorious old abbey has 
^iven place to a collection of gasholders, coal-heaps, railway- 
sidings, modern iombstones, and obscene jerry-buildings. 

The diocese of Oxford now includes the deaneries of Aston, 
Burcester, Chipping-Norton, Cuddesden, Deddington, Dor- 
•chester (Oxon), Henley, Whitney, Woodstock, and Oxford 


Robert King (1542-1557), the first Bishop of Oseney and 
of Oxford, and the last Abbot of Oseney and of Thame, began 
life as a Cistercian monk. On the conversion of his abbey into 
a cathedral, he continued, as bishop of the new see, to preside ; 
but he had already, seven years before, been raised to the 
episcopate, as suffragan of Lincoln, under the title (conferred 
by the Pope) of Bishop of Rheon in the province of Athens. 
He seems to have taken the Reformation pretty easily, passing 
through all the changes under King Henry, King Edward, and 
Queen Mary. He died at an advanced age in 1557, and was 
buried in Christ Church Cathedral. He left considerable 
riches to his nephew PhiUip King, " which it seems," says 
Fuller, " was quickly consumed, so that John King, Bishop of 
London (son of Phillip), used to say he believed there was a 
fate in abbey money no less than in abbey land, which seldom 
proved fortunate, or of continuance to the owners." 

After Queen Elizabeth had kept the see vacant for ten years^ 
Hugh Curwen (i 567-1 568), a "moderate papist," accord- 
ing to Fuller, who had been made Archbishop of Dublin by 
Queen Mary, and now wished to end his days in peace, was 
translated to Oxford. "Very decrepid, broken with old age 
and many state affairs," he died next year. Whereupon 
Elizabeth kept the see vacant for twenty-one years more, " out 
of pure devotion to the leases, as some writers say." 

John Underhill (1589), Rector of Lincoln College, and 
one of Queen Elizabeth's chaplains, was next appointed, " being 
persuaded," says Willis, " on certain considerations, to accept 
it in the way of a better." But it proved " very much out of 
his way ; for ere the first-fruits were payed he died in great dis- 
content and poverty about the beginning of May 1592." 

Again Elizabeth, who had already taken away some of the 
best estates from the bishopric, kept it in her hands the third 
time (i 592-1604) : " who," says Willis, ** constituting no bishop 
forty-one years of her forty-four, disposed of its income to her 
courtiers as she thought fit, giving whatever they had a mind to 
ask ; though, as some writers remark, it proved miserably fatal 
to them, particularly to her great favourite the Earl of Essex." 

With John Bridges (1604-1618) commences the unbroken 


succession of Bishops of Oxford. It is suggested by Fuller in 
his " Worthies " that " the cause that church was so long a 
widow was the want of a competent estate to prefer her " ; but 
at this time,. Elizabeth being dead, the endowment of the see 
had been increased ; and henceforward occupants for it were 
found. Bridges is known to history mainly from his name 
appearing at the head of the title-page of the first two Marpre- 
late tracts. He was then, 1587, Dean of Sarum, and had 
written a temperate reply to the Puritan pamphleteers who 
were pouring violent abuse upon Episcopacy. Martin Marpre- 
late seized upon his book, "A Defence of the Government 
Established in the Church of England," and headed the 
"Epistle" and the "Epitome" with, "Oh read over D. John 
Bridges, for it is a worthy worke." 

John Howson (1619-1628) was a great controversialist of 
the time, his four sermons against the Pope's supremacy having, 
according to Fuller, " made him famous to all posterity." He 
was one of the original members of Chelsea College, an institu- 
tion founded by James I. " to afford divines leisure and other 
conveniences to spend their time wholly in controversy." 
Mercifully this terrible design soon gave way, and Chelsea 
College became Chelsea Hospital. Bishop Howson was 
translated to Durham in 1628, where he died at the age of 

Richard Corbet (1628-1632) was " a distinguished wit in 
an age of wits, and a liberal man amongst a race of intolerant 
partizans." But perhaps his liberality (which did not prevent 
him, by-the-way, from carrying out the Laudian discipline with 
a high hand) was due to his own easy way of living : for he 
and his chaplain were wont to lock themselves in the wine- 
cellar and be merry. He seems to have been a genial, kind, 
generous, and spirited prelate; sincere and affectionate in 
private life, he was, says Gilchrist, " correct, eloquent, and in- 
genious as a poet." At least he was a man of character. From 
1632 to 1635 he was Bishop of Norwich. 

John Bancroft (1632-1641), Master of University College, 
and nephew of the Archbishop of Canterbury of that name, 
was a great benefactor to the see. Being a single man, he 



devoted his money to this purpose ; and besides many financial 
acquisitions, he built an episcopal palace at Cuddesden at the 
suggestion of Archbishop Laud. This palace, the first since 
the time of Edward VI., was finished in 1634, and burnt down 
ten years later by Colonel Legg, to prevent its becoming useful 
to the parliamentary forces. It lay in ruins till the time of 
Bishop Fell. 

Robert Skinner (1641-1663) was translated to Oxford 
from Bristol. He was imprisoned in the Tower by the Puritan 
party, and remained in obscurity during the Commonwealth. 
At the Restoration, being then over seventy, he was translated 
to Worcester. 

AVilUam Paul (1663) and Walter Blandford (1665) did 
nothing memorable. 

Hon. Nathaiiiel Crewe (1671-1674) entered into holy 
orders in 1664 ; in the short space of five years he was Dean of 
Chichester, and two years after that Bishop of Oxford. He 
was an ambitious and restless man : in 1673 he had the bold- 
ness to perform the marriage ceremony between the Duke of 
York and Mary of Este, in defiance of the House of Commons. 
As a reward for this act, the Duke procured him the see of 
Durham, whither he was translated in 1674. At the Revolu- 
tion, as a consequence of his political intrigues, he was excepted 
from the general pardon, and obliged to fly to Holland. But 
he afterwards made his peace ; and, on the death of his elder 
brother, becoming Lord Crewe, he was the first man to be 
summoned to Parliament both as baron and bishop. He lived 
on till 1722. 

Hon. Henry Compton (1674-1675), son of the Earl of 
Northampton, who died fighting by the king at Hopton Heath 
in 1644, was after the Restoration a cornet in the army before 
he took orders. He was conspicuous throughout his long life 
for his efforts to reconcile the dissenters with the Church of 
England, and for his opposition to Rome ; he was the first to 
sign the declaration for the Prince of Orange on William's 
arrival in London. But at Oxford he was a bird of passage, 
being translated to London in 1675. 


John Fell (1676- 1686), the best known, and also the best 
of the Bishops of Oxford, was well-fitted to restore the traditions 
of the place ; for his father Samuel Fell was Dean of Christ 
Church from 163 7- 1649, ^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ elected student of the 
House as far back as 1601 : thus John Fell must have had an 
intimate knowledge of the traditions of Christ Church as far 
back as the third interregnum of Elizabeth. A strong royalist, 
Fell kept in seclusion till the Restoration, when, in 1660, he 
was made Dean. He at once commenced to restore both the 
discipline and the buildings of the College. On his appoint- 
ment to the Bishopric, he was permitted to retain the Deanery 
as well, ;n order **that he might better carry on his noble 
designs, which were so many that they contributed to wear him 
quite out and shorten his life." He employed Sir Christopher 
Wren to build Tom Tower, and finished the north side of 
Tom Quadrangle ; he also built a new episcopal palace upon the 
ruins of the old one at Cuddesden. He founded ten exhibi- 
tions, and caused the University Theatre to be erected, and 
the Printing Press to be *' advanced to a glory superior to any 
place in Christendom." He showed exemplary care in govern- 
ing his diocese, and established daily prayers at St. Martin's 
(as the principal city church of Oxford) at eight in the morning 
and eight at night. His most important book is the " Life of Dr. 
Henry Hammond," 1660;. he also wrote several theological 
books, edited St Cyprian's works, and produced a well-known 
edition of the New Testament. He died in 1686, " having by a 
most pious unspotted single life left behind him an everlasting 
character," and was buried in the cathedral, where, in the ante- 
chapel, there is a monument to him. There is also a beautiful 
statue of him over the archway that leads past the deanery into 
Peckwater Quadrangle, by Mr. Bodley. 

Anthony k Wood records of him that he was " the most 
zealous man of his time for the Church of England." Still 
John Fell had his weak points, as this same Anthony Wood 
had cause to know. For it so happened that Wood had 
mentioned Hobbes, the redoubtable author of the " Leviathan," 
in terms of great admiration, in his History and Antiquities of 
the University. Wood was himself a strong high-churchman, with 
(it had been said) a weakness for popery ; in praising Hobbes he 
therefore acted with a generosity and fairness beyond his age. 
Fell, however, was not so liberal ; he considered Hobbes no 


better than an atheist or a deist, and when one Peers was 
employed by Wood to translate his book into Latin, Fell got 
on the right side of the man, and made him alter all Wood's 
praises of Hobbes to expressions of abuse. The author of the 
** Leviathan," meeting the King in Pall Mall, got leave to reply^ 
and hit the Bishop rather hard. Fell retorted with an answer 
that contained the famous description of Hobbes as irritabile 
illud et vanissimum Malmesburimse animal. Wood, of course, 
was furious, and the wretched Peers suffered at the hands of 
the muscular old Antiquary, so that " as Peers alway cometh 
off with a bloody nose or a black eye, he was a long time 
afraid to goe anywhere where he might chance to meet his too- 
powerful adversary, for fear of another drubbing." 

Samuel Parker (1686-1687) was a typical specimen, 
of the place-hunter of the period. He was brought up- 
a strict Puritan at Northampton, and, coming to Wadham 
College in 1656, when the Puritans were in power, he 
distinguished himself as " one of the most godly young men. 
in the University," and was under the tuition of a rigid Presby- 
terian. Shortly after the Restoration, however, he changed his 
mind, and in 1663 he took orders, becoming *'a zealous 
advocate of the Church of England." By 1686, however, he 
was the creature of James H., and was forced by that monarch, 
upon Magdalen College, Oxford, as its President, in 1687, 
in the place of the lawful President, John Hough. At the 
installation only two of the Magdalen Fellows attended ; the 
porter threw down his keys, the butler had to be dismissed 
because he would not scratch Hough's name from the buttery 
list, no blacksmith even could be found in Oxford to force the 
lock of the President's lodgings; and the whole University,, 
which had suffered so much for the Stuarts, was alienated at 
last. Parker himself died very soon after, in the lodgings that 
he had unlawfully occupied. He lies buried in the ante-chapel 
of Magdalen, but no monument marks his grave. Antony 
Wood intimates that he would have become a Papist, but 
for his wife, who was unwilling to be parted from him; and 
he certainly wrote in defence of transubstantiation. Stilly 
Parker, according to Mr. W. H. Hutton {Social England^ 
iv. 421), was by no means a despicable man. As a philo- 
sopher in his Disputationes de Deo^ and Censure of the 


Platonick Philosophic^ as a satirist in his Discourse of Ecclesi- 
astical Polity, and an ecclesiastical historian, he is ^ninent. 
**But most of all is he commended to modern thinkers by 
his little tract containing reasons for the abolition of the Test 

Timothy Hall (1688-1690), another of James II.'s creatures, 
was also originally a Nonconformist, but afterwards, " getting; 
nothing," says Willis, " for his loss of a small living in Middle- 
sex, he complied." Being a very obscure and inconsiderable 
person, and on no account for learning, no one took any notice 
of him. At the Revolution he fled from Oxford, and died 
" miserably poor at Hackney near London, and was buried in 
the church there without any memorial." 

John Hough (1690-1699), the President of Magdalen* 
whom King James had ejected, was the next bishop. He 
retained the Presidency during his episcopate. In 1699 he 
was translated to Lichfield, thence in 1 7 1 7 to Worcester, where 
he died in 1 743. He was, says Macaulay, " a man of eminent 
virtue and prudence, who, having borne persecution with 
fortitude and prosperity with meekness, having risen to high 
honours, and 'having modestly declined honours higher still,, 
died in extreme old age, yet in full vigour of mind," fifty-six 
years after the eventful struggle with James. 

William Talbot (1669-17 15), father of Lord Chancellor 
Talbot, was translated to Salisbury in 17 15, and to Durham 
in 1721. 

John Potter (1715-1737), son of a linen-draper in Wake- 
field, wrote a well-known book on the " Antiquities of Greece. ''^ 
He was " a learned and exemplary divine, but of a character 
by no means amiable, being strongly tinctured with a kind of 
haughtiness and severity of manners." He became Archbishop 
ofCanterburyin 1737. 

Thomas Seeker (1737-1758) came of dissenting parents,, 
but was persuaded by the great Bishop Butler to abandon the 
study of medicine and to take orders in the Church. He was 
an estimable and able person, and in 1758 became Archbishop 


of Canterbuxy. His portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds is at 

John Hume (i 758-1 766), Bishop of Bristol 1756 : trans- 
lated to Salisbury 1766. 

Robert Lowth (1766-17 7 7) was the author of a variety of 
works, including a ''Life of William of Wykeham," and a 
" Short Introduction to English Grammar." His controversy 
with Warburton, and the ** Letters " to which it gave rise, are 
well known. Of his "Isaiah" Philip Skelton said that 
" Lowth on the Prophecies of Isaiah is the best book in the 
world, next to the Bible." He was moved to London 1777, 
and he refused the Archbishopric of Canterbury. 

John Butler (17 7 7- 1788) was a popular preacher and 
political pamphleteer; in reward apparently for his efforts in 
the latter function. Lord North advanced him to see of Oxford, 
though he was not a university man. Translated to Hereford 

Edward Smallwell (i 788-1 799), St. David's 1783. The 
first bishop since Dr. Fell to remain faithful to the diocese. 

John Randolph (i 799-1807), regius professor of Greek and 
a trustee of the British Museum, was the author of many 
sermons and charges. One of his last works was a report of 
the progress of the National School Society. Translated to 
Bangor 1807, and to London 1809. 

Charles Moss (1807-1811) avoided translation, and died 
shortly in the palace at Cuddesden, and " leaving his splendid 
furniture for the use of his successors." 

William Jackson (181 2-1 8 15) was a prominent Oxford 
man, being regius professor of Greek and curator of the 
Clarendon Press. 

Hon. Henry Legge (1816-1827) was a son of the Earl of 
Dartmouth; he had been Dean of Windsor, and in 181 7 be- 
came Warden of All Souls, retaining the bishopric. 


Charles Lloyd (1827-1829). Had he not died at the early 
age of forty-five, Lloyd would have played a great part in the 
stirring times that were in store for the Church. He was, says 
Mr. Gladstone, " a man of powerful talents, and of character 
both winning and decided." He was a Christ Church don, 
and had Sir R. Peel among his pupils and constant friends. 
Lloyd warmly supported the Roman Catholic Relief Bill in 
1829. He was the first to publish the Prayer Book with red 
lettered rubrics. 

Hon. Richard Bagot (1829-1845), translated to Bath 
and Wells. He graduated in 1803, and it is characteristic of 
his times that in 1804 he was fellow of All Souls, in 1806 rector 
of Leigh, and in 1807 canon of Windsor, — all within seven 
years of his matriculation at Christ Church. He was bishop 
at the time of the Oxford movement, and was reluctantly obliged 
to play a part in its history. He did not exactly please either 
side, but he behaved with great fairness and courtesy. In 1845, 
being ruined in health by the worry of previous years, he was 
translated to Bath and Wells. 

Samuel Wilberforce (1845-1870), translated to Win- 
chester. This famous bishop was the third son of William 
Wilberforce, the great slave emancipator. At the early age of 
forty he was made bishop of Oxford, and he administered the 
diocese with wonderful ability for a quarter of a century, guiding 
it through the most difficult period, when the Tractarian storm 
was at its height, without offending either party. His extra- 
ordinary tact and charm enabled him to perform a valuable 
work for the Church by binding the various sections together 
at a time when party-feeling ran high. He was the most ac- 
complished preacher in the English Church, one of the fore- 
most parliamentary orators of his day ; " the most witty and 
genial of companions, he was the favourite of social life, and was 
equally irresistible in the drawing room or on the platform." 
As a theologian he was the inferior of his brother the Arch- 
deacon ; he wrote, however, several books, of which the best re- 
membered are " Agathas " and " Rocky Island." He was killed 
by a fall from his horse when riding with Lord Granville in 1873. 

John Fielder Mackarness (1870-1888) was recom- 


mended to the bishopric by Mr. Gladstone, having lost his seat 
in convocation through refusing to oppose the disestablishment 
of the Irish Church. He was a hard-working prelate of great 
■courage and independence. When an attempt was made to 
force him to take proceedings against the rector of Clewer, he 
argued the case in person before the judges of the Queen's 
Bench, and at last won his case on appeal. On surrendering 
to the ecclesiastical commissioners the management of the 
Oxford bishopric estates, Dr. Mackarness paid them the sum 
of jCi72g, which he estimated that he had received in excess 
•of his statutory income during the previous nine years. He 
had been made a fellow of Exeter College on taking his degree ; 
he wrote several pamphlets, among them " A Plea for Tolera- 
tion, in Answer to the *No Popery' Cry, 1850." He resigned, 
•owing to failing health, in 1888, and died in the next year. 

William Stubbs, the present bishop, was translated from 
•Chester in 1888, being already a Student of Christ Church. 
He is one of the leading historians of our time, and his Consti- 
tutional History has long been the standard work upon the 



Bell's Cathedral Series. 



In specially designed doth cover ^ crown 8vo^ is. (yd. each. 

Now Ready. 

CANTERBURY. By Hartley Withers. 2nd Edition, revised. 

36 Illustrations. 
SALISBURY. By Gleeson White. 2nd Edition, revised. 

50 Illustrations.. 
CHESTER. By Charles Hiatt. 24 Illustrations. 
ROCHESTER. By G. H. Palmer, B.A. 38 Illustrations. 
OXFORD. By Rev. Percy Dearmer, M.A. 34 Illustrations. 
EXETER. By Percy Addleshaw, B.A. 35 Illustrations. 
PETERBOROUGH. By Rev. W. D. Sweeting. 51 Illustrations. 
WINCHESTER. By P. W. Sergeant. 50 Illustrations. 
NORWICH. By C. H. B. Quennell. 38 Illustrations. 
LICHFIELD. By A. B. Clifton. 42 Illustrations. 
HEREFORD. By A. Hugh Fisher. 34 Illustrations. 


LINCOLN. By A. B. Kendrick, B.A. 
DURHAM. By J. E. Bvgate. 
WELLS. By Rev. Percy Dearmer, 

ST DAVID'S. By Philip Robson. 

SOUTHWELL. By Rev. Arthur 


ELY. By T. D. Atkinson. 
WORCESTER. By E. F. Strange. 
YORK. By A. Glutton Brock, B.A. 



Uniform with the above Series. 
BEVERLEY MINSTER. By Charles Hiatt. {PrepaHng. 

Opinions of the Press. 

** For the purpose at which they aim they are admirably done, and 
there are few visitants to any of our noble shrines who will not enjoy their 
visit the better for being furnished with one of these delightful books, 
which can be slipped into the pocket and carried with ease, and is yet 
distinct and legible. ... A volume such as that on Canterbury is exactly 
what we want, and on our next visit we hope to have it with us. It is 
thoroughly helpful, and the views of the fair city and its noble cathedral 
are beautiful. Both volumes, moreover, will serve more than a temporary 
purpose, and are trustworthy as well as delightful." — Notes and Queries. 

"We have so frequently in these columns urged the want of cheap, 
well-illustrated, and well-written handbooks to our cathedrals, to take 
the place of the out-of-date publications of local booksellers, that we are 
glad to hear that they have been taken in hand by Messrs George Bell 
and Sons." — St James s Gazette. 

"Visitors to the cathedral cities of England must often have felt the 
need of some work dealing with the history and antiquities of the city 
itself, and the architecture and associations of the cathedral, more portable 
than the elaborate monographs which have been devoted to some of them, 
more scholarly and satisfying than the average local guide-book, and more 
copious than the section devoted to them in the general guide-book of the 
county or district. Such a legitimate need the * Cathedral Series* now 
being issued by Messrs George Bell cS: Sons, under the editorship of Mr. 
Gleeson White and Mr E. F. Strange, seems well calculated to supply. 
The volumes are handy in size, moderate in price, well illustrated, a 
written in a scholarly spirit. The history of cathedral and city is 

telligenlly set forth ai.d accompanied by a descriptive survey of the 
building in all its detail. The illustrations are copious and well selected, 
and the series bids fair to become an indispensable companion to the 
cathedral tourist in Ei»gland." — Times. 

" They are nicely produced in good type, on good paper, and con.ain 
numerous illustrations, are well written, and very cheap! We should 
imagine architects and students of architecture will be sure to buy the 
series as they appear, for they contain in brief much valuable information^" 
— British Aichitect. 

" Half the charm of this little book on Canterbury sprimjs from the 
writer's recognition of the historical association of so majestic a building 
with the fortunes, destinies, and habits of the English people. . . . One 
admirable feature of the book is its artistic illustrations. They are 
both lavish and satisfactory — even when regarded with critical eyes." — 

'* Every aspect of Salisbury is passed in swift, picturesque survey in this 
charming little volume, and the illustrations in this case also heighten 
perceptibly the romantic appeal of an unconventional but scholarly guide- 
book. " — Speaker. 

'* There is likely to be a large demand for these attractive handbooks." 

" Bell's 'Cathedral Series,' so admirably edited, is more than a descrip- 
tion of the various English cathedrals. It will be a valuable historical 
record, and a work of much service also to the architect. The illustrations 
are well selected, and in many cases not mere bald architectural drawings 
but reproductions of exauisite stone fancies, touched in their treatment by 
fancy and guided by art. — Star. 

**Each of them contains exactly that amount of information which the 
intelligent visitor, who is not a specialist, will wish to have. The dis- 
position of the various parts is judiciously proportioned, and the style is 
very readable. The illustrations supply a further important feature ; they 
are both numerous and good. A series which cannot fail to be welcomed 
by all who are interested in the ecclesiastical buildings of England." — 
Glasgow Herald. 

*' Those who, either for purposes of professional study or for a cultured 
recreation, find it expedient to ' do ' the English cathedrals will welcome 
the beginning of Bell's * Cathedral Series. ' This set of books is an 
attempt to consult, more closely, and in greater detail than the usual 
guide-books do, the needs of visitors to the cathedral towns. The series 
cannot but prove markedly successful. In each book a business-like 
description is given of the fabric of the church to which the volume 
relates, and an interesting history of the relative diocese. The books are 
plentifully illustrated, and are thus made attractive as well as instructive. 
They cannot but prove welcome to all classes of readers interested either 
in English Church history or in ecclesiastical architecture." — Scotsman. 

"A set of little books which may be described as very useful, very 
pretty, and very cheap .... and alike in the letterpress, the illustra- 
tions, and the remarkably choice binding, they are ideal guides." — 
Liverpool Daily Post. 

'*They have nothing in common with the almost invariably wretched 
local guides save portability, and their only competitors in the quality and 
quantity of their contents are very expensive and mostly rare works, each 
of a size that suggests a packing-case rather than a coat-pocket. The 
' Cathedral Series ' are important compilations concerning history, archi- 
tecture, and biography, and quite popular enough for such as take any 
sincere interest in their subjects." — Sketch. 







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